The collapse of CNN continued through 2013 with the former-Most Trusted Name In News hitting a 20-year ratings low during the 8-11pm primetime hours. The news wasn’t much better for MSNBC. The left-wing network actually lost in total day viewership to CNN. Fox News continued to dominate throughout the year, beating both CNN and MSNBC combined.
Throughout last year, Fox News averaged 1.761 million primetime viewers and 1.097 million total day viewers. MSNBC averaged 640,000 primetime viewers and 394,000 total day viewers. CNN averaged 568,000 and 413,000, respectively.
Out of the hundred or so cable channels measure by Nielsen it wasn’t even close. Fox ranked 6th in primetime and 4th in total day. MSNBC placed 29th in primetime and 30th in total day. CNN placed 32nd and 28th, respectively.
In the advertiser-coveted 25-54 demo, the race was closer during primetime, but CNN still came in last. Fox News was on top with 294,000 viewers. MSNBC and CNN earned 203,000 and 181,000 respectively.
In the 25-54 total day rankings, Fox dominated with 222,000 viewers. CNN and MSNBC tied at 131,000.
Without any blood-letting, Fox News has already shuffled its already-successful primetime line-up by promoting rising cable news superstar Megyn Kelly to the 9pm hour. This move, done late last year, boosted the network’s ratings. That combined with the upcoming election year must make Fox News feel pretty comfortable with where they are at for 2014.
As far as CNN, the verdict is still out on Jeff Zucker, who has only been the network president for a year. But there is no question it was a very rough year. Zucker has suggested that CNN primetime will turn into something that moves away from news and towards Discovery Channel type programming. Being a news channel certainly isn’t working, so why not?
MSNBC has no announced plans. There are rumors of personnel changes, but nothing approaching a shake-up. One leftist anchor capable of hosting an hour of smug, mean-spirited confirmation bias moves out, another moves in. On top of its ratings, though, MSNBC had a very bad 4th quarter. Two MSNBC anchors, Martin Bashir and Alec Baldwin, were lost to bad behavior and the year closed with anchor Melissa Harris-Perry having to apologize for mocking a black infant.
The upcoming mid-term elections should help MSNBC, but right now the “Lean Forward” feels like it is just spinning its wheels as a visual form of left-wing talk radio.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC