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Fox News Channel dominates midterm election coverage

A still frame from the Fox News Channel's coverage of the 2022 Midterm Election.
A still frame from the Fox News Channel’s coverage of the 2022 Midterm Election. (Still frame via Fox News Channel broadcast, courtesy Fox News Media; Graphic by The Desk)

Around 23 million TV viewers watched some or all of the midterm election coverage on the traditional broadcast and cable networks in prime-time, according to finalized data released by Nielsen Media Research on Wednesday.

The Fox News Channel dominated the prime-time, with more than 7.4 million overall viewers — more than any other cable or broadcast network. Nielsen’s data showed Fox News Channel had 1 million more viewers than MSNBC and NBC combined.

Fox News Channel also carried in the key demographic of adults aged 25-54, with 1.879 million tuning in from that demo, about 800,000 more than CNN and higher than any other broadcast or cable network.

CNN fell to third place for its midterm election coverage when compared to other cable networks, with 2.6 million tuning in to prime-time coverage of the midterm election. Of those, just over 1 million were in the key demographic attractive to advertisers, according to Nielsen.

Nielsen’s finalized data is below:

Prime-Time Viewership (8 PM to 11 PM Eastern), total viewers

  1. Fox News Channel: 7.422 million
  2. ABC: 3.307 million
  3. MSNBC: 3.210 million
  4. NBC: 3.107 million
  5. CNN: 2.608 million
  6. CBS: 2.561 million
  7. Fox Business Network: 629,000
  8. NewsNation: 93,000

Prime-Time Viewership (8 PM to 11 PM Eastern), key demo

  1. Fox News Channel: 1.879 million
  2. CNN: 1.059 million
  3. NBC: 1.058 million
  4. ABC: 900,000
  5. MSNBC: 782,000
  6. CBS: 701,000
  7. Fox Business Network: 229,000
  8. NewsNation: 28,000

Evening Viewership (6 PM to 2 AM Eastern), total cable viewers

  1. Fox News Channel: 5.629 million
  2. MSNBC: 2.664 million
  3. CNN: 2.049 million

Evening Viewership (6 PM to 2 AM Eastern), total cable demos

  1. Fox News Channel: 1.392 million
  2. CNN: 661,000
  3. MSNBC: 481,000

Preliminary data from Nielsen MRI Fusion showed the Fox News Channel had the most-politically diverse audience across the three cable networks, with more self-identified Democrats and Independents tuning in to Fox’s coverage of the midterm election compared to MSNBC and CNN.

In a press release on Wednesday, a Fox News Media spokesperson said Fox’s midterm coverage also dominated the web, with more than 9 million total livestreams across the Fox News website, Fox Nation, Facebook and YouTube. The Fox News Channel livestream was made available without a cable or satellite login around 3 p.m. Eastern Time, which helped increase the brand’s visibility across digital properties.

Editor’s note: This article was updated to reflect finalized viewership figures as reported by Nielsen. An earlier version of the story contained preliminary Nielsen data.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).