CNN Viewership Falls, Fox Capitalizes Reclaiming Cable News

Written by Christian Capperllari

After the 2020 Presidential Election, Fox News took an unexpected tumble below CNN  in ratings. However, after the first half of 2021, Fox News is top dog again in both daytime and primetime viewership, with CNN coming in third behind both Fox News and MSNBC. 

Fox News’ lead has grown significantly since the winter season when they took over the lead from CNN, averaging 1.2 million viewers per day from April-June which surpassed MSNBC’s average of 847,000 and CNN’s average of 654,000 by a large margin. Fox News’ gap in ratings is even larger in primetime with Fox averaging 2.2 million viewers, while MSNBC averaged 1.5 million and CNN averaged 914,000.

The two programs with the highest ratings also belong to Fox News. Tucker Carlson Tonight and Hannity, which are both Fox News primetime shows, have attracted the highest viewership with 2.9 million viewers and 2.7 million respectively 

However, all three of these networks have dropped at least 30 percent from this point in time last year. This could be in relation to the fact that hot button topics such as the Coronavirus Pandemic and the 2020 Presidential Election are no longer in the news cycle.

Fox’s dip in viewership was likely closely related to the Capitol Surge in early 2021, and smaller networks such as One America News and Newsmax, who are far more pro-Trump, taking viewers from Fox, a network Trump had been critical of at times. Fox responded to this by shifting their reporting to become more right-leaning than before and regained a lot of these viewers.