Donald Trump Was Right, Cable News Needs Him


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)
23-Aug 25-Mar Net Loss
Cavuto: Cavuto:
2192 1089 1103
Five: Five:
3772 2687 1085
Baier: Baier:
3256 1934 1322
MacCallum: Primetime:
3201 1673 1528
Carlson: Carlson:
5719 3138 2581
Hannity: Hannity:
6838 2653 4185
Dmcy2020: Ingraham:
7063 2128 4935
Ingraham: Bream:
4820 1131 3689

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.

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CNN Total Viewers (Live+SD x 1,000)
24-Nov 25-Mar  Net Loss
Tapper: Tapper:
2099 1011 1088
Blitzer: SitRoom:
2328 961 1367
Blitzer: SitRoom:
2241 768 1473
Burnett: Burnett:
2330 961 1369
AC360: Cooper:
2214 1015 1199
Cuomo: Cooper:
2252 890 1362
Lemon: Lemon:
1796 996 800
Tonight: Lemon:
1206 631 575

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)
24-Nov 25-Mar Net Loss
Wallace: Deadline:
2475 1332 1143
Wallace: Deadline:
—- —-
Melber: Melber:
2439 1440 999
Reid: Reid:
2597 1454 1143
Hayes: Hayes:
2360 1667 693
Maddow: Maddow:
3465 3089 376
O’Donnell: O’Donnell:
2626 2051 575
Williams: Williams:
2378 1432 946

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.

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