TV Ratings: Cable News Viewership Surges in May as Fox News, CNN, MSNBC Log Double-Digit Gains

Tucker Carlson
AP/REX/Shutterstock

Fox News claimed the top spot in every key ratings measure for cable news in the month of May while CNN and MSNBC saw big surges in those measures compared to the same month last year.

Looking at the primetime numbers for the month, Fox News was number one with an average of 2.24 million viewers, as well as taking first place in the key adults 25-54 demographic with 453,000 viewers. MSNBC was second in primetime with 1.69 million total viewers and 417,000 in the demo. CNN came in third with 1.12 million total viewers and 399,000 in the demo.

In total day, Fox News was first in total viewers with 1.42 million viewers and in the demo with 302,000 viewers. CNN was third in total viewers with 821,000 but second in the demo with 274,000. MSNBC was second in total viewers with 925,000 but third in the demo with 221,000.

Fox News also claimed four of the top five shows for the month in total viewers: “Tucker Carlson Tonight” (2.67 million); “The Five” (2.37 million); “Hannity” (2.36 million); and “Special Report with Bret Baier” (2.28 million). MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show” claimed the number two spot in total viewers for the month with 2.58 million. In the key demo, however, Maddow finished first with 637,000. That puts her ahead of Carlson, who finished second in the demo with 525,000. The other top shows in the demo, in order, are: MSNBC’s “Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” (523,000); “Hannity” (518,000); and “The Five” (496,000).

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All three major cable news networks saw increases in their ratings compared to the same period last year, but CNN and MSNBC saw the biggest lifts in all key measures. In total day, MSNBC was up 93% in total viewers and 78% in the demo. CNN was next, up 41% in viewers and 59% in the demo. Fox News was up 22% in viewers and 40% in the demo.

Primetime was much the same, with MSNBC seeing an incredible 105% rise in total viewers compared to last May and a 101% increase in the demo. CNN was second with a 26% rise in viewers and a 39% rise in the demo. Fox News grew 11% in total viewers and 23% in the demo. Of note, CNN narrowed the gap with Fox News to its third smallest since October 2008 in total day and second smallest since January 2009 in primetime in the key demo.

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  1. Frank says:

    It’s a wonder CNN, the fake news factory, is doing reasonably well. Just shows us that many people are not concerned with impartial, truthful News but just want to be entertained.

  2. cerebrum says:

    Of course Fox will be number 1 in all viewer ratings. There is only one big time conservative network like Fox and the rest of the other networks have liberal views. So, Liberal viewers and Trump haters are getting divided into other networks while the all the conservatives and Trump supporters are flocking into one network. In other words .. who cares about these ratings. They are all Fake anyway. #fakenews! :)

  3. Huma A says:

    I hope that these numbers are as accurate as the presidential election polls. President Hillary would want it that way.

  4. Kael Wallace says:

    These numbers they are reporting…. According to WHO? Who tracks these numbers, and where can I find them?

  5. Lon My says:

    Shame on you variety. CNN 1.12 million total viewers is lower than March 2017. You failed to mention they lost 200,000 in april to 997,800 so that’s more like a recovery than surge!

  6. DBob says:

    So what do we have in common on all these programs? Trump. No idea why the media hates him so much because he makes them a ton of money.

  7. George Lewis says:

    FOX NEWS #1. Tucker Carlson #1. Kat Timpf fantastic!

  8. theotherhanddude says:

    the woman has been desperate to hold her spot on the D-list of entertainers. Put her D-list on snake eyes and lost. Now she’s back stocking shelves at Walmart.

  9. Maureen Evans says:

    There is absolutely no excuse for this behavior, Kathy Griffin is an adult that should be more respectable to the President and his family and the United States as a whole. We may not agree with Donald Trump as president but to partake in such a horrible photo shoot is unforgivable. Kathy Griffin has proven she feels she can say and do whatever she wants as long as she classifies it as entertainment, there is no humor in this behavior. There is no apology that would be acceptable. Such a disgusting act. There should be charges going forward for this behavior.

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