Race For TV News Viewers Tightens

Now, four months after the election -- which witnessed rising fortunes for MSNBC and CNN initially -- competition among cable TV news networks for viewership has tightened.

Since the beginning of the year through February 19, MSNBC held a slight edge as tops in prime time Monday to Sunday -- with 2.56 million average viewers in Nielsen’s live program-plus-same day time-shifted data.

Fox News Channel is right behind at 2.55 million. Then comes CNN at 2.4 million.

Looking at the most recent week of February 15 - February 21 in prime time, Fox News Channel has retaken the lead -- averaging 2.5 million. MSNBC is at 2.0 million; and CNN, 1.6 million viewers.

But total day viewership of that week remains closer: Fox News Channel, 1.3 million; MSNBC, 1.2 million; and CNN, 1.0 million.

CNN and MSNBC witnessed big viewership bumps after the November election and again with the January 6 insurrection of the U.S. Capitol, and then with the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump earlier this month.

The week of former President Trump’s second impeachment trial -- February 8 - February 14 -- had MSNBC at 2.583 million viewers in prime time; Fox News Channel, 2.580; and CNN, 2.02 million.

For January, CNN was at 2.71 million prime-time viewers; MSNBC, 2.6 million, and Fox News Channel, 2.5 million.

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