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May Ratings: With Fox News in First, MSNBC and CNN Battle for Viewers

Mediaite logo Mediaite 6/2/2021 Marisa Sarnoff
Tucker Carlson wearing a suit and tie: Tucker Carlson hosts Tucker Carlson Tonight © Provided by Mediaite Tucker Carlson hosts Tucker Carlson Tonight

Fox News swept the ratings in May, topping the charts in both total viewers and in the valuable demographic of viewers age 25-54 for the third consecutive month, leaving MSNBC and CNN to battle it out for cable news audiences. All networks saw double-digit viewership declines compared to May 2020, with MSNBC seeing the smallest decline in most categories, and while MSNBC beat CNN in total viewership, CNN got more viewers in the key demo.

Fox News averaged the most viewers in total day, with 1.19 million total viewers, down 37% from last year, according to Nielsen data. MSNBC was second, with 835,000 total viewers, down 28% from May 2020, the smallest total viewership drop of all three cable news networks. CNN averaged 610,000 total viewers, for a drop of 44% since May 2020.

In the key demo, Fox averaged 203,000, down 38% (the smallest decline of the three networks) from a year ago. CNN was second, with 147,000, down 51% from May 2020. MSNBC was third in the demo, with 108,000, a decline of 39% from last year.

Fox News had a decisive win in prime time, averaging 2.17 million total viewers, a drop of 37%. MSNBC was second, with 1.49 million total viewers, and saw the smallest decline (22%) from the year before. CNN was third in prime time, with 913,000, and saw the biggest drop-off in viewership from May 2020, losing 45% of its audience.

Fox was also first in the demo, averaging 345,000 viewers A25-54, down 38% from last year. CNN averaged 218,000 viewers in the demo, a drop of 53%, but still enough to land in second. MSNBC was third, with 199,000 viewers in the demo, a drop of 32% from May 2020.

Tucker Carlson Tonight was the most-watched show on cable news in May, notching 2.94 million total viewers, and 478,000 in the demo. Fox News claimed four of the five most-watched shows for the month in both total viewers and in the demo, with Hannity, The Five, and The Ingraham Angle all joining Carlson at the top of the ratings chart. The only non-Fox show in the top five was MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show.


Video: Joe Concha: CNN's sharp ratings drop has no end in sight (FOX News)

Once again, as in April, both Fox and MSNBC claim victory among total viewers at 9 pm. According to Fox, Hannity won the timeslot with 2.63 million total viewers, compared to Maddow’s 2.52 million, while MSNBC says Maddow came out on top, with 2.64 million total viewers to Hannity’s 2.62 million.

Additional notes on May ratings:

– MSNBC was most-watched in African-American viewership in all of cable in May, while CNN ranked second and Fox News ranked 47th, according MSNBC.

– Fox News’ Laura Ingraham was the most-watched woman in cable news among A25-54 viewers for the month, according to Fox.

– Fox News host Greg Gutfeld’s late-night show Gutfeld! had the highest-rated show in all of cable in total viewers at 11 p.m., averaging 1.7 million total viewers and 325,000 in the demo, and topping every CNN show in total viewers, according to the Fox.

Embattled (and apologetic) CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, host of Cuomo Prime Time, delivered the network’s biggest audiences in May, averaging 1.07 million total viewers and 243,000 viewers in the demo, according to CNN.

The post May Ratings: With Fox News in First, MSNBC and CNN Battle for Viewers first appeared on Mediaite.
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