As summer heats up, CNN’s ratings have cooled down. The third-place cable news network saw its ratings erode even further, while also losing its grip on viewers in TV’s most valued demographic.
CNN’s prime time ratings plummeted by 19% last week, both in overall viewers and with those aged 25-54.
That means nearly one in every five people who watched CNN’s prime time lineup the previous week turned off the network during the week of July 5.
CNN’s prime time lineup attracted a meager 833,000 total viewers and 184,000 in the coveted 25-54 demographic. That ranks behind both Fox News (with 2.05 million total prime time viewers and 309,000 in the demographic) and its competitor among left-of-center viewers, MSNBC (which won 1.3 million total viewers and 156,000 in the demographic).
CNN is now the sixth-rated cable network in prime time, behind Fox News, MSNBC, HGTV, the Hallmark Channel, and the History Channel.
CNN’s ratings collapse has trickled down from the top, where the network’s morning show “New Day” won its smallest audience in more than seven years. “‘New Day’ managed only 76,000 viewers among the key demo of adults age 25-54 for the week of July 5-11, its smallest audience in the crucial category since the week of June 23, 2014,” reported Fox News. Overall, “New Day” attracted 433,000 total viewers, as compared to 1.1 million for “Fox and Friends” — or about 40% of Fox’s morning audience. “The recently revamped “New Day” has now failed to reach 500,000 average viewers for 11 straight weeks.”
That’s particularly discrediting for Jeffrey Zucker, who became president of CNN after a successful run as producer of NBC’s “Today” show.
MSNBC, which lost 12% of its total day viewership last week, became the second most-watched network on cable.
Fox News marked its 21st consecutive week as the most-watched cable news network, a reign which was only briefly interrupted in January. It was also the top network on cable television, period.
While Fox News earned modestly lower viewership over the holiday week than the week before, its top-rated show — “Tucker Carlson Tonight” — saw its audience increase by 100,000 viewers, possibly fueled by allegations that the NSA spied on his private emails and text messages.
The Fox News Channel had four of the top five shows in cable news: “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” “Hannity,” “The Five” (which airs outside prime time), and “The Ingraham Angle.” MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show” rated fourth for the week.
Takeaway: CNN and MSNBC saw tremendous audience growth in the two previous weeks because they returned to covering hard news: The networks dedicated round-the-clock coverage to the tragic Surfside condominium collapse and Britney Spears’ legal battle to win independence from her father’s conservatorship. Every show on both networks heavily featured these two apolitical stories, while occasionally devoting a segment to their standard fare (the D.C. riot, the legal woes of Allen Weisselberg, etc.). Shockingly, the networks even featured positive interviews with local priests, pastors, and rabbis tending to the victims of Surfside.
As a result, CNN saw its ratings jump by 14% the week of the collapse and 4% the following week; MSNBC grew by 6% and 7%, respectively. As all cable news outlets carried the same press conferences from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, at times viewers may not have even known which network they were watching.
That is also the reason CNN and MSNBC experienced their most successful ratings week during the January 6 riots: The American people sought all the information they could get about that day’s top story. Unfortunately, it appears that CNN brass believes that viewers rewarded the network for its narrative, rather than its news. That miscalculation has cost them the patronage, and the trust, of Americans ever since.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.