The ratings hemorrhage by CNN and MSNBC is real and dramatic. Fox News also suffered a post-election drop because of its betrayal of the President, but has achieved some measure of stability. That said, Fox is way below where it was last August. Let me give you the numbers.
First with Fox. August thru November 3 was the highwater mark for Fox News programs from 4pm on. Fox’s current numbers show a dramatic drop when you compare the numbers for March 25, 2021 with those for August 23, 2020. Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham have suffered the largest loss–Hannity has shed 4,185,000 viewers while Laura’s losses approach five million. Even Tucker Carlson is down 40% compared to his August 2020 numbers.
|FNC Total Viewers (Live+SD x 1,000)|
While Fox is struggling compared to last year, it is outpacing CNN and MSNBC. They were competitive with Fox in November 2020 and, in some cases (such as Rachel Maddow) they were walloping Fox. Those days are done.
|CNN Total Viewers (Live+SD x 1,000)|
MSNBC’s numbers are almost as bad as CNN’s, but there are two exceptions–Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell. Maddow is besting Hannity on most nights while Lawrence O’Donnell is competitive with Laura Ingraham.
|MSNBC Total Viewers (Live+SD x 1,000)|
When you compare August 2020 to March 2021 for total viewers in the 8 pm and 9pm timeslots you will see how big a decline Cable News has suffered–8pm has 4,055,000 fewer viewers and 9pm dropped by 4,162,000.
I do not believe this drop is going to change significantly in the future. I am sure that CNN and MSNBC will get a daytime boost out of the George Floyd hearings, but the evening with Donald Trump to bash leaves CNN and MSNBC scrambling to find their raison d’etre.