Cable ratings tell the story of the decline of interest in the anti-Trump narrative
What happened to the rise of MSNBC? After showing historic growth--and a few months in 2017 when Rachel Maddow took the title of most-watched host in all of cable news, beating Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity--the just-released results of the May ratings period look very familiar: Fox News won--everything.The two most anti-Trump networks had the biggest drop. I suspect it was because the false narrative of "Russian collusion" has run out of steam with no indictments charging it. It has become clear that investigators have not found any evidence to support that charge. Of Mueller's 100 charges filed, not one of them was for collusion with the Russians.
In ratings data released Wednesday by Nielsen Media Research, FNC extended its run of consecutive months at number one to a staggering 197, while building hitting another impressive milestone: Fox News Channel has now beaten every other network in basic cable for 23 months straight, based on total day ratings, with an average total day audience in May of 1.4 million viewers.
In prime time, Fox News destroyed its competition, with an average total audience of 2.381 million viewers, compared to MSNBC's 1.384 million and CNN's 835,000. Among viewers 25-54, the group most coveted by advertisers, FNC shook off a challenge in recent months from MSNBC to claim a clear victory: 461,000 viewers, well ahead of MSNBC (329,000) and CNN (265,000).
In May, prime-time viewership for the cable news networks was down overall except for Fox News, which grew 6% from the same period last year. CNN had the biggest declines, down a full 25%. Among viewers 25-54, Fox News was up slightly (+2%) while MSNBC fell significantly (-21%) and CNN dropped by more than a third (-34%).