×

CNN Tops MSNBC in Second Quarter; Fox Still Dominant

Turner news networks deliver healthy gains

It remains a blip in the rear-view mirror of longtime leader Fox News, but CNN at long last has some ratings news to smile about.

In Nielsen estimates for the second quarter, CNN surged well above its alarmingly low numbers of last year at this time to leapfrog MSNBC in both total day and primetime rankings. CNN’s sibling HLN also showed nice improvement and similarly surpassed MSNBC, which ran fourth for the first time in eight years.

In primetime, CNN placed second among the cable newsies for the quarter, topping MSNBC in both total viewers and adults 25-54 for the first time since 2009. In total day, this is the first time since 2005 that both CNN and HLN have surpassed MSNBC.

Looking at the numbers, Fox News led total-day among cable news networks in the key news demo of adults 25-54, but CNN closed the gap. FNC’s 240,000 viewers in the demo (down 6% from last year) was followed by CNN (162,000, up 69%), HLN (142,000, up 48%) and MSNBC (123,000, down 5%).

In adults 25-54 among all cable networks for the quarter, FNC ranked 17th in total day while CNN placed 31st. In primetime, FNC was 27th and CNN was 34th.

In total viewers for the quarter, Fox News (1.18 million) nearly outdrew its three news competitors combined in total-day averages (CNN’s 476,000, HLN’s 393,000 and MSNBC’s 361,000). And in primetime, where “The O’ Reilly Factor” remains the dominant program, FNC (2.21 milion) did outperform the combined average viewership of CNN (733,000), MSNBC (660,000) and HLN (569,000).

Among all networks in primetime, Fox News ran fifth for the quarter in total viewers — behind USA, TNT, Disney and History.

Key to the growth for CNN were top program “AC360,” which had its best showing in both total viewers (803,000) and the 25-54 demo (271,000) since moving to the 8 o’clock hour nearly two years ago. Also, “Piers Morgan Live” had its largest audience (720,000) since its first quarter in early 2011.

Recent afternoon entry “The Lead With Jake Tapper” beat MSNBC during the quarter in both total viewers (595,000 vs. 429,000) and showed healthy gains over the time-period averages on CNN a year ago.

Fox News continued to dominate the cable news program rankings. In the adults 25-54 demo for the second quarter, the net’s “The O’Reilly Factor” (456,000), “Hannity” (389,000) and “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren” (341,000) were the top programs. And in total viewers, it was “The O’Reilly Factor” (2.86 million), “Hannity” (2.11 million) and “The Five” (2.10 million).

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Roma Cinematography

    'Mission: Impossible - Fallout' and 'Roma' Win LMGI Awards for Motion Pictures

    Two major 2018 releases – actioner “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” and critics’ darling “Roma” – were honored for film location work by the Location Managers Guild International at a ceremony this evening at the Eli & Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica. The 6th Annual LMGI Awards also recognized “Chernobyl” and “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” [...]

  • Viacom Channels Grab 'Seinfeld' Cable Rerun

    Viacom Channels Grab 'Seinfeld' Cable Rerun Rights

    Viacom has sealed a deal with Sony Pictures Television for the cable rights to “Seinfeld” starting in October 2021. The deal comes on the heels of a blockbuster new deal between Sony and Netflix for the streaming rights to the beloved NBC sitcom that also begins in 2021. “Seinfeld” reruns have been a staple of [...]

  • Soho House

    Soho House Lands In Downtown Los Angeles

    Warner Music, Spotify and Lyft are poised to welcome a new neighbor to downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District with Soho Warehouse, the third California outpost of the Hollywood-loved members-only club — and the largest North American opening to date. Hot on the heels of the Soho House Hong Kong debut earlier this summer, the private [...]

  • Elite Season 2

    San Sebastian: Spain’s SVOD Players Debate Competition, Brand, Talent

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — Executives from HBO, Netflix, Amazon and Movistar+ and “Elite” co-creator Darío Madrona took to the stage to field questions on the Global Impact of Spanish Series. Here, briefly, are five takeaways: 1.Spain First “La Casa de Papel” was watched by 34,355,956 Netflix accounts over its first seven days,  after a July 19 [...]

  • Samsung Makes Bid to Keep Viewers

    Samsung Makes Bid to Keep Viewers From Skipping Fox Ad Breaks

    Fox is hoping to knit together the seconds-long divide between a TV program and the commercials that support it. During ad breaks for a few football broadcasts, tomorrow’s run of the Emmys and Wednesday’s season premiere of “The Masked Singer,” the network will kick off ad sessions with special show promos that display artistic renderings [...]

  • Patria

    HBO Europe Unveils ‘Patria’ Footage to Captive San Sebastian Audience

    SAN SEBASTIAN — Amid large expectation, HBO Europe has revealed first footage giving a first sense of tone and pace of its Spanish original series “Patria.” A packed-to-overflowing press conference on Saturday morning at the San Sebastian Festival can be read as one sign of the potential popularity of the eight-part series. The panel sneak-peek [...]

  • Topic Studios

    Layoffs Hit Topic Studios as TV Division Relocates to West Coast (EXCLUSIVE)

    A small round of layoffs has hit Topic Studios this week in the television division, insiders familiar with the company told Variety. One of the insiders said three executives at the New York-based producer and distributor are out: senior vice president of scripted programming and Viacom alum Lisa Leingang, vice president of development Mona Panchal [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content