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Cable News Ratings: MSNBC Posts Big Percentage Gains, Fox News Stays Number One, CNN Sets Records (UPDATED)

UPDATED with Nielsen data through Dec. 17

2017 cable news ratings broke records again and again, and the year end numbers are no slouch either.

For the period beginning Dec. 26, 2016 and ending Dec. 17, 2017, Fox News was on top in both primetime and total day viewership, but MSNBC posted the biggest percentage gains in the key measures. CNN also posted its highest ratings on record in total day in the demo and total viewers for the year. In primtime, CNN had its second most watched year since 2008, also in both measures.

In primetime, Fox News was number one with an average of 2.42 million viewers with 488,000 of those falling in the key adults 25-54 demographic. That is approximately even with the network’s performance in both measures last year. MSNBC was second with 1.62 million viewers and 370,000 in the demo, an impressive increase of 50 percent in total viewers and 37 percent in the demo. CNN was third in total viewers with 1.06 million and tied MSNBC in the demo with 370,000, down 15 percent in total viewers and 13 percent in the demo.

In total day, Fox News was again number one. The network averaged 1.5 million viewers with 321,000 in the demo. That is up eight percent in total viewers and 15 percent in the demo. MSNBC was second in total viewers with 885,000 but third in the demo with 206,000. Nevertheless, MSNBC was up in total day by 47 percent in total viewers and 33 percent in the demo. CNN was third in total viewers with 783,000 but second in the demo with 256,000, up four percent in total viewers and 11 percent in the demo.


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