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Fox News Channel tops second quarter of 2023

The network had the second-highest ratings across all cable during the three-month period, topped only by basketball on TNT.

The network had the second-highest ratings across all cable during the three-month period, topped only by basketball on TNT.

Fox News Channel anchors Martha MacCallum (left) and Bret Baier. (Courtesy image)
Fox News Channel anchors Martha MacCallum (left) and Bret Baier. (Courtesy image)

The Fox News Channel dominated in total viewership and key demographic ratings during the second quarter of the year, easily beating its rivals CNN, MSNBC and NewsNation, according to data from Nielsen released this week.

Fox News grabbed an average of 1.164 million total viewers during the day and an average of 1.691 million viewers during prime-time programming, with the top seven highest-rated cable news programs all aired by the network, the data showed.

The channel’s current affairs panel program “The Five” continued to see the highest ratings across all cable news channels, with an average of 2.8 million total viewers and 299,000 viewers in the key demographic of adults between the ages of 25 and 54 that resonate most with advertisers. The program outperformed every show on rival networks CNN, MSNBC and NewsNation during the period.

Sean Hannity’s self-titled prime-time commentary program had the most viewers across cable news, with an average of 2.2 million tuning in at 9 p.m. on a nightly basis. That figure was higher than CNN and MSNBC combined in the same time slot, the data showed.

In late night, Greg Gutfeld’s talk show “Gutfeld!” drew in an average of 1.7 million viewers, marking one of the highest late-night talk programs on television and scoring higher ratings than comparable shows on CNN, MSNBC and NewsNation. The show is moving to the 10 p.m. time slot in mid-July as part of a broader prime-time shuffle announced by Fox News earlier this week.

During the quarter, Fox News Media’s parent company, Fox Corporation, settled a defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems over claims that some Fox News personalities and guests exacerbated conspiracy theories of election-related fraud tied to its voting machines. In April, Fox agreed to pay more than $787 million to end the case.

Later that month, Fox News said it had “parted ways” with Tucker Carlson, its highest-rated host in prime-time. Sources said the dismissal came after text messages and other records unearthed during the Dominion case showed Carlson disparaging several key Fox News executives and other employees at the network.

The dismissal impacted prime-time ratings at Fox News, with 20 percent of its audience dropping off between the first and second quarter of the year, according to a review of Nielsen data by The Desk. In the first quarter of 2023, Fox News grabbed an average of 2.088 million viewers in prime-time.

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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).