Despite the latest buzz around CNN’s uptick in cable-news ratings, the charts still show Fox News Channel as the dominant player. Fox’s prime-time lineup occupied four of the top five slots in April in the desirable 25-54YO demographic, and CNN’s main news hour and MSNBC’s top-rated show trailed the repeat of The O’Reilly Factor. All in all, Fox took seven of the top ten slots last month in the demo, but it’s the startling growth of one show that might be the biggest story, even though TV Newser only mentions it last. One might even call it … yuuuuge:
The overwhelming majority of cable news programs were down in April from their March averages, but Fox News still dominated the top of the charts. FNC was home to nine of the 10 most-watched cable news programs of the month: The O’Reilly Factor (2.8 million), The Kelly File (2.3 million), Special Report with Bret Baier (2 million), The Five (1.9 million), Hannity (1.8 million), On The Record with Greta Van Susteren (1.7 million), America’s Newsroom (1.4 million), Your World with Neil Cavuto (1.3 million), and Outnumbered (1.3 million). Fox News was home to the 13 most-watched cable news programs for March and home to the top 14 in February, so the network wasn’t quite as dominant as usual. …
While each of the top-10 cable news programs in total viewers fell from their March 2016 average, many of them were up year-over-year: The O’Reilly Factor (+9 percent), The Kelly File (+7 percent), Special Report with Bret Baier (+1 percent) and most notably, Hannity (+35 percent) to name a few.
One expects to see a year-on-year growth between an off-year and an election cycle, so the incremental increases in other shows may not be all that remarkable. Megyn Kelly’s success is noteworthy, considering the pressure and attacks she has received since challenging Donald Trump in presidential primary debates. Clearly, that has not hurt Kelly, and arguably has boosted her brand — which might make it difficult for Fox come contract-renewal time.
Sean Hannity’s boost, on the other hand, has been phenomenal. Hannity now comes in third in the demo, right behind Kelly, and fifth overall. His audience grew by over a third since last April, and it seems very clear where that dynamic originates. While Bill O’Reilly has been somewhat sympathetic to Donald Trump, Hannity has been outright enthusiastic about Trump in the primaries, and perhaps more so since last week’s capitulations. One can argue whether the egg or the chicken came first, but apart from that Hannity seems to have captured the political winds in his sails.
The overall ratings look even better for Fox News, again despite the recent talk of CNN’s resurgence. Except for MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow in tenth place, Fox holds the top 15 cable-news ratings slots. CNN’s AC360 comes in at #16, followed by MSNBC’s prime-time line-up in the next three slots. The reports of Fox News’ ratings declines seem to have been at least slightly exaggerated.