Cable News Viewership Dropped After Wild 2020 – Deadline


The year 2021 was a year of tumult in the news: Chris Cuomo was fired, the surprise exit of Brian Williams, Chris Wallace rushed for a rival. And that doesn’t even make the headlines about the doubts and distortions of Tucker Carlson’s vaccine, the β€œbig replacement” theory or the false flags of January 6.

The past 12 months have also been a time of disconnection as all networks have seen a significant drop in viewership.

Much to be expected, as the news cycle shifted from the Trump administration’s four scares and the momentous nature of a presidential election year. Coupled with the start of the Covid-19 closures, the year 2020 has been a boon for the news industry, so it’s only natural that there is a bit of a downturn.

But will the public come back in 2022, with a midterm election on the calendar? Or in the next round of the presidential election?

All Networks Invest in Their Streaming Options, As Fox News Adds Carlson Show To Its Fox Nation Subscription Streaming Service, NBC News Is Putting More Money Into Hiring For Its Channels, Including MSNBC’s The Choice , and CNN is preparing to launch CNN +. Wallace’s move from Fox News to the CNN subscription service can tell you a bit of where things are heading, even if it’s a bit of the Wild West right now in the measurement realm.

Fox News was once again the top-rated cable news network, topping CNN and MSNBC earlier this year in various audience categories. The network was also the first cable network among the total number of viewers during the day and in prime time. (ESPN won this title among viewers aged 25 to 54).

CNN, meanwhile, said that even with the overall audience decline in 2021, the period still marked its second most-watched year of all time, just behind last year. MSNBC said it was the first cable network among African American viewers for the third year in a row. The two networks also ranked in the top five cable networks in total viewers, including daytime and prime-time viewers.

Here are some highlights:

Fox news

The Tucker Carlson factor. Tucker Carlson tonight was the top cable news show, averaging 3.2 million viewers, followed by The Five, Hannity, The Rachel Maddow Show and Ingraham’s Angle. Carlson led demo 25-54 last year, so the trend was that he would take first place in total viewership.

As a leading figure in the network, Carlson was even more visible, with a show on Fox Nation. Even the simplest live news events have received the Tucker Carlson treatment. When Joe Biden gave a great prime-time speech in March from the White House, coinciding with Carlson’s prime time, Fox News added a “Live Tucker Reaction” box in the lower right corner of the screen, as if the host was trolling the president.

But with Carlson’s ratings, dominance also came from fury and fallout. His documentary Fox Nation, Purge of the Patriots, put forward the January 6 “false flag” theory, prompting the condemnation of figures like Liz Cheney and the ADL, while Wallace and Bret Baier reportedly opposed the network’s leaders. Two Tory backers, Stephen Hayes and Jonah Goldberg, resigned during the special.

It all came as Fox News relied more on opinion, supplanting the newscast in favor of talking heads, strengthening the right-wing public and the Trumpist base. His show panel The five was the only non-prime-time show to make the top five.

Greg Gutfeld is right late night. Fox News touted Gutfeld’s show as a right-wing alternative to other late-night offerings, and the network’s decision to remove a newscast from its 11 p.m. ET time slot has paid off. Gutfeld averaged 1.7 million viewers, beating The 11th hour with Brian Williams and Don Lemon tonight. Last year, the former occupant of the slot, Fox News at night, attracted an average of 2.01 million but lagged behind The 11th hour. Gutfeld pulled higher numbers than other late-night hosts except Stephen Colbert, but that’s not an apples-to-apples comparison: Gutfeld airs at 8:00 p.m. PT in the West, which means it will not face these shows. But Fox News managed to launch Gutfeld! as the only conservative opinion comedy in a landscape that leans to the left.


AC360. The best show on the network was Anderson Cooper 360, with an average of 1.26 million total viewers and 318,000 among adults aged 25 to 54. For this place, Cooper anticipated CNN Tonight / Cuomo Primetime, the post now vacant following the dismissal of Chris Cuomo.

Other CNN highlights: Its coverage of the Jan.6 siege against the United States Capitol attracted an average of 5.2 million people, setting a record as the most-watched day among total viewers.

The new series Stanley Tucci: In Search of Italy averaged 2.05 million total viewers, its second highest performance for its original series unit. The network quickly ordered season two and plans to launch a new series, Eva Longoria: In Search of Mexico, on its CNN + platform.


Rachel Maddow. Once again, Maddow led the total viewership and key demo, which is why there is so much speculation about what will happen to her show if she cuts her schedule, as has been reported. No official announcement has yet been made.

After Maddow, MSNBC’s top performer among total viewers is The last word with Lawrence O’Donnell. at Nicolle Wallace White House deadline, meanwhile, averaging 1.6 million, more than any other cable daytime news program (when the measurement is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET). Fox News’ Outnumbered dominated in demo 25-54.

Among other information networks, Newsmax’s Greg Kelly Reports averaging 406,000 total viewers, enough to make it into the top 50 (at 50), while CNBC’s Squawk Alley averaged 65,000 viewers among adults aged 25 to 54, enough to place it in the top 50 of this demo (also on the 50th).

Deadline video:


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