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CNN, MSNBC Hit Ratings Lows as Fox News Continued to Dominate in 2022

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


The news has gone from bad to worse for cable outlets CNN and MSNBC as both networks shed viewers while top-rated rival Fox New Channel continued to grow and surpass expectations throughout 2022. According to the most recent ratings, FNC placed 92 shows in the top 100 on all cable TV this year.

“FOX News Channel (FNC) notched its seventh year as leader in all of cable television while delivering the third highest-rated year ever in cable news history for 2022 in total day viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research,” a press release from the network noted last week.

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“The network’s programs continued to break new ratings records throughout the year, resulting in FNC continuing as the number one cable network in primetime and total day in viewers in basic cable for the seventh consecutive year and the highest-rated cable news network for the 21st straight year,” it continued.

The network said it was the only one to post viewership gains over 2021:

In primetime, FNC averaged 2,330,000 total viewers, 346,000 in the 25-54 demo and 214,000 in the 18-49 demo. In total day, FNC was the only network to post increases versus 2021, delivering 1,489,000 total viewers, 231,000 in the 25-54 demo and 141,000 in the 18-49 demo.

FNC trounced CNN and MSNBC combined in primetime and total day across both categories, finishing the year as the only cable news network to notch more than 2 million in primetime viewers and 1 million in total day viewers. FNC programs made up 92 of the top 100 cable news shows during 2022. Notably, CNN and MSNBC each saw their lowest-rated years of all time in total day with the younger A25-54 demo.

According to data from Nielsen/MRI Fusion, FNC also attracted the most politically diverse audience in cable news with more Democrats, Independents and Republicans tuning into FNC than any other network in total viewers and the younger A25-54 demo. This year, FNC had its second highest share of the cable news audience in its history with 53% in total day in the 25-54 demo. FNC also drew 55% of the primetime audience in total viewers.

Network boss Suzanne Scott noted: “From America’s choice on election night to the home of late night’s smash hit show, 2022 was a testament to our unmatched skill in delivering the most innovative news and opinion programming to our audience which continues to rank as the most politically diverse in cable news. I am beyond proud of our entire team’s incredible achievements this year.”

The press release noted further:

Nielsen Cable News Ratings for 2022 (12/27/21-12/13/22) vs. 2021 (12/28/20-12/26/21)

Primetime:

FNC: 2,330,000 P2+ (down 1%); 346,000 25-54 (down 7%)

CNN: 730,000 P2+ (down 33%); 174,000 25-54 (down 36%)

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MSNBC: 1,208,000 P2+ (down 21%); 133,000 25-54 (down 39%)

Total Day:

FNC: 1,489,000 P2+ (up 12%); 231,000 25-54 (up 3%)

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CNN: 568,000 P2+ (down 27%); 123,000 25-54 (down 35%)

MSNBC: 733,000 P2+ (down 19%); 83,000 25-54 (down 35%)

A range of programming — from daytime, to primetime, to late-night — scored big for FNC throughout the year.

“FNC’s signature morning franchise FOX & Friends continued to dominate the cable news’ wake-up program landscape. FOX & Friends (6-9 AM/ET) was the highest-rated morning show for the 22nd consecutive year, topping CNN and MSNBC combined in viewers and the younger demo with 1.4 million viewers and 232,000 in the A25-54 demo,” the release said.

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“FNC’s daytime lineup continued as cable’s most-watched destination for the latest in news. Each program posted increases versus 2021, beginning with America’s Newsroom with Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino (9-11 AM/ET) which averaged 1.8 million total viewers and 259,000 in the 25-54 demo. At 11 AM/ET, Harris Faulkner’s The Faulkner Focus delivered 1,752,000 total viewers and 253,000 in the 25-54 demo, defeating CNN and MSNBC across the board and outranking ABC’s The View on election week. FNC’s Outnumbered, with co-hosts Harris Faulkner, Emily Compagno and Kayleigh McEnany, was 12 PM/ET’s highest-rated cable news program with 1.9 million viewers and 272,000 in A25-54,” it added.

The remainder of the daytime programs did well, also.

“In 2022, FNC’s late-night program Gutfeld! delivered its most-watched year ever and continued to upend the genre, becoming the first late-night show to unseat CBS’ The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in viewers for a full month since 2017. The program held nearly 30% of the late-night audience share this year, increasing its audience year over year. Gutfeld! has been the highest rated late-night program in all of television since August and finished 2022 as the second most-watched host in late-night television,” said the release.

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