Ratings: CNN Hits 20-Year Low, MSNBC Down Double Digits

Ratings: CNN Hits 20-Year Low, MSNBC Down Double Digits

Everyone in cable news had a ratings decline in May. Fox News remains number one, though, and also suffered the least as far as a decline.

CNN continues to collapse. MSNBC dipped around 20% in total viewers and Fox News dipped 6%.


The news just went from bad to worse at CNN. After the cable news network delivered its lowest-rated month in total viewers in over a decade in April, May became CNN’s worst month in primetime among total viewers in over 20 years. From April 30 to May 27, the cable news network attracted an average of 389,000 viewers in primetime. It was also CNN’s second-lowest-rated month in primetime among the 25-54 demographic (114,000) since October 1991. Only May 2000, with 104,000 viewers in the demo, did worse. Piers Morgan Tonight received the lowest total viewer and 25-54 demo numbers that CNN has had in the 9 PM time slot in two decades.

TV Newser:

MSNBC continued its run as the #2 cable news network in May, second to Fox News in both Total Day and primetime. Like the other cable news networks MSNBC experienced declines in May — down double digits across the board.

The ratings for May, 2012:

  • Primetime (Mon-Sun): 674,000 Total Viewers / 216,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 385,000 Total Viewers / 124,000 A25-54

In Total Day, MSNBC was down -19% in Total Viewers and down -26% in the A25-54 demo compared to May 2011. Ratings were similarly low in primetime, with the network seeing losses of -19% in Total Viewers and -21% in younger viewers.

One bright spot for MSNBC was its weekend opinion shows “Up with Chris Hayes” and “Melissa Harris-Perry,” both of which have premiered in the past year.

TV Newser again:

As usual, Fox News comes in first among the cable news channels in May, but even the perennial ratings leader was not immune to a decline this month. Compared to May 2011, FNC is down -6% in Total Viewers and -12% in the A25-54 demographic in Total Day. In primetime, the network is down -9% in Total Viewers and -23% in A25-54 viewers.


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