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

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).

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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