The second quarter of this year was a kind one for cable news networks ratings-wise, as all three major networks saw ratings boosts due to their coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and the wave of police brutality and racial justice protests sweeping across the country.
CNN, Fox News and MSNBC all posted double-digit gains from Q2 last year in both total viewership and the key demographic of adults aged 25-54.
Fox News led the way once again, scoring an average of just under 2 million average viewers each day in the quarter, according to Nielsen Media Research. MSNBC came second with just over 1.2 million viewers per day in the same time period, followed by CNN with just under 1.2 million. In primetime, FNC averaged 3.6 million viewers, MSNBC 2 million and CNN 1.8 million.
Looking at the 25-54 demo, Fox News’ lead was a little more slender, averaging 366,000 viewers over a full day, to CNN’s 335,000. MSNBC came third with an average of 193,000.
In terms of individual programming, “Tucker Carlson Tonight” broke the record previously held by “Hannity” for the highest-rated quarter for a cable news program. Carlson’s show drew 4.33 million total viewers and 791,000 in the 25-54 demo. “Hannity” was just behind with 4.31 million total viewers and 754,000 in the key demo.
“The Ingraham Angle” and “The Five” were the next most-viewed shows for FNC, drawing an average of 3.8 million and 3.3 million total viewers for the quarter. “The Rachel Maddow Show” was top of the pile for MSNBC with 3.1 million.
CNN won the crown for the highest-rated cabler in daytime, also topping cable news daytime in the key demo for the first time in almost two decades.