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Fox News Channel continues to dominate cable news ratings

The network delivered more viewers than CNN in prime-time during the month of May, according to Nielsen data.

The network delivered more viewers than CNN in prime-time during the month of May, according to Nielsen data.

Greg Gutfeld hosts the prime-time comedy talk show "Gutfeld!" on the Fox News Channel. (Photo courtesy Fox News Media)
Greg Gutfeld hosts the prime-time comedy talk show “Gutfeld!” on the Fox News Channel. (Photo courtesy Fox News Media)

Fox News Channel continued to exert its dominance over its cable news peers during the month of May, delivering nearly four times the number of viewers in prime-time compared to CNN and grabbing its largest audience for that programming block since March of last year.

Nearly all the top 100 cable news shows in terms of overall viewership were broadcast by Fox News in May, according to Nielsen ratings data. Fox News had 97 of the top 100 shows among the demographic of adults ages 25 to 54 (A25-54), which are most-attractive to cable news advertisers. The channel had 94 of the top 100 shows in terms of overall viewers, Nielsen data showed.

In total-dating ratings, Fox News had an average of 1.3 million overall viewers and 147,000 in the A25-54 demographic. The total viewership figure was 176 percent higher than CNN and 58 percent higher than MSNBC.

From April 15 through May 26, Fox News brought in more average and A25-54 viewers for coverage of Trump’s criminal trial than CNN and MSNBC. Fox News saw an average of 1.3 million total viewers tune in for coverage of the case; of those, 149,000 were in the A25-54 demo, according to Nielsen.

In prime-time, Fox News was the most-watched cable news channel, averaging 2 million viewers between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. Eastern Time during the week, according to Nielsen data. It ranked third across all cable TV channels, second only to Warner Bros Discovery’s (WBD) TNT and the Walt Disney Company’s ESPN. TNT and ESPN aired basketball playoff games in prime-time, with TNT also offering hockey playoffs.

MSNBC was a close second to Fox News in prime-time, pulling in an average of 1.156 million viewers in prime-time, according to Nielsen. It ranked fourth among all cable networks. CNN grabbed 518,000 viewers in prime-time, ranking third among cable networks and 11th among all cable networks. Nielsen data showed the Hallmark Channel, WBD’s HGTV and Comcast’s USA Network had higher prime-time ratings compared to CNN in May.

Throughout the week, Fox News had more overall viewers than any other cable TV channel in May, with an average of 1.291 million daily viewers representing just over 1 million Nielsen households, according to Nielsen. MSNBC was second among all cable TV channels with an average of 816,000 daily viewers representing 688,000 households. TNT and ESPN placed third and fourth, respectively, with CNN grabbing fifth place with an average of 468,000 viewers from 391,000 households.

Among the key A25-54 demographic, Fox News placed first in both prime-time and weekly ratings. It was behind TNT, ESPN, TBS and USA Network among overall cable networks in prime-time, and behind TNT and ESPN in weekly ratings among A25-54 viewers. Across cable news channels, MSNBC placed second and CNN placed third in both categories with the A25-54 demographic.

Fox’s prime-time viewership was boosted by a strong roster of political analysis and opinion programming, with shows like “The Ingraham Angle,” “Hannity” and “Jesse Watters Primetime” averaging between 2.1 million and 2.7 million overall viewers in May.

The channel’s late night show “Gutfeld!” continues to stand on its own across post-prime time television, averaging 2.2 million overall viewers and 278,000 A25-54 viewers in May. Its broadcast on May 20 earned 2.9 million overall viewers, and was the most-watched episode of “Gutfeld!” since the show began in 2021.

Fox News Channel is operated by Fox News Media, a subsidiary of Fox Corporation.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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