Fox News topped March ratings, but all of the major news networks saw double digit erosion from the same month in 2022.
CNN saw some of the steepest declines, with it primetime audience down 61% from March of 2022, and dropping 73% in the 25-54 demo.
One factor: The lack of a dominant news story. The Ukraine war dominated the news cycle in the same period a year ago, and CNN actually saw a viewership spike back then.
But the network has been trying to retool its 9 PM ET hour, scheduling special townhalls and one-on-one interviews. The network has said that the programming is a bit of an experiment that has not seen a full promotional push, while sources say it has been talking to figures like Gayle King and Charles Barkley about hosting a weekly show in the slot. The network also is launching an overhaul of its daytime lineup next month.
While CNN beat MSNBC in the 25-54 primetime demo during the first quarter, it was edged out by the NBCU network during March.
Meanwhile, a bright spot among new show launches is MSNBC’s Inside with Jen Psaki, which airs at Noon ET on Sunday. It averaged 1.06 million viewers in its second week, beating the competition on Fox News and CNN. In the 25-54 demo, it averaged 125,000 viewers, to CNN with 97,000 and Fox News with 140,000.
For the month, Fox News topped primetime with an average of 2.09 million viewers, down 27%, versus MSNBC with 1.14 million, down 12%, and CNN with 473,000, off by 61%. In the 25-54 demo, Fox News topped with 245,000, down 54%, followed by MSNBC with 107,000, down 42%, and CNN with 100,000, down 73%.
In total day, Fox News averaged 1.32 million, down 27%, followed by MSNBC with 701,000, down 10%, and CNN with 425,000, down 52%. In the 25-54 demo, Fox News averaged 162,000, down 53%, followed by CNN with 83,000, down 64%, and MSNBC with 78,000, down 24%.
Tucker Carlson Tonight was the top program among total viewers for the month, averaging 3.25 million, followed by The Five with 3.06 million, Jesse Watters Primetime with 2.67 million, Hannity with 2.51 million and Special Report with Bret Baier with 2.20 million.
In adults 25-54, Tucker Carlson Tonight averaged 421,000, followed by The Five with 317,000, Hannity with 290,000, Gutfeld! at 283,000 and Jesse Watters Primetime with 280,000.
In the first quarter, Fox News’ primetime lineup averaged 2.09 million viewers, down 18% versus 2022, followed by MSNBC with 1.11 million, down 8%, and CNN with 568,000, down 34%. In the 25-54 demo, Fox News averaged 259,000, down 40%, followed by CNN with 124,000, down 47%, and MSNBC with 111,000, down 26%.
In total day, Fox News averaged 1.36 million viewers, down 15%, followed by MSNBC with 703,000, down 1% and CNN with 478,000, off by 27%. In the 25-54 demo, Fox News averaged 174,000, down 38%, versus CNN with 94,000, down 40% and MSNBC with 78,000, down 9%.
The Five was the top cable news program in total viewers for the quarter, averaging 3.26 million, followed by Tucker Carlson Tonight with 3.25 million, Jesse Watters Primetime with 2.78 million, Hannity with 2.59 million and Special Report with Bret Baier at 2.35 million. In adults 25-54, Tucker Carlson Tonight topped with 443,000, followed by The Five with 357,000, Hannity with 317,000, Jesse Watters Primetime at 304,000 and Gutfeld! with 301,000.
The figures are from Nielsen via Fox News and MSNBC.