Newsmax sheds viewers as political circus tames

Last December, the startup news channel Newsmax made national headlines after it toppled the Fox News Channel in key ratings demographics, knocking the king of cable news off its throne as disgruntled —conservative, mostly — viewers found comfort in a news channel willing to confirm their own biases as stoke a new conspiracy theory or two.

That trend appears to have been short-lived.

Data collected by Nielsen and reported by the website Mediaite revealed Newsmax shed half of its post-election audience by the end of February.

The news channel went from being the 19th most-watched cable channel in America to 33rd in less than three months. Its prime-time viewership dropped 55 percent from 495,000 households to just 223,000. And the network’s daytime audience dipped from 398,000 viewers to 197,000, a 63 percent decline.

Newsmax was not alone in the ratings slump — data published by Nielsen showed every cable news channel suffered from a decline in viewership in February (including the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump and a blistering cold snap that caused massive power outages in Texas). But none suffered quite as much as Newsmax.

On the contrary, the other three cable news outlets had something to celebrate, each in their own way. MSNBC was the most-watched cable news channel overall in February, while the Fox News Channel boasted better prime-time viewership numbers and CNN won the book with the much-coveted 25-year-old to 54-year-old demographic that is attractive to advertisers.

“The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC was the most-watched cable news program overall, bringing in an average of 3.54 million viewers. “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on the Fox News Channel was a close second with 3.39 million viewers.