A broader view of June Nielsen's viewing data shows Fox News Channel down 31% to a Nielsen-measured 1.49 million viewers. Hot on the heels of the cable channel still at the top overall is MSNBC -- just 170,000 viewers behind at 1.32 million.
Perhaps the silver lining for Fox News comes that MSNBC was only able inch up 3% year-over-year, with CNN down 3% to 635,000. CNN, now with its own issues behind the camera, continues to trail the two big news networks by anywhere from 600,000 to 750,000 viewers.
With nearly a year away from the two summer major party political conventions - that will decide the U.S. presidency -- this could be a sign what viewership battle will ensue.
However, this does not mean Fox News Channel viewers will sit on the sidelines. Conservative-minded Fox News might make further programming changes.
One show -- “Jesse Watters Primetime” -- took over Carlson's 8 p.m. slot but still has a long way to go, averaging 2.1 million viewers in June.
Before he departed in April, Carlson was averaging anywhere from 3.5 million to 4.0 million viewers.
Carlson departed Fox News Channel in April -- just after Fox Corp. settled its lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems for $787.5 million. Court disclosures revealed Carlson had made what analysis by many said were racist texts -- including that of longtime fringe “replacement theory”.
Referencing a group of Trump loyalists in the street beating an “Antifa kid,” Carlson texted this: “It's not how white men fight. Yet suddenly I found myself rooting for the mob against the man, hoping they would hit him harder, kill him.”
Honesty is the best policy, no? Is that content TV news audiences should expect of their on-air hosts? For Fox, there has been more focus on Hunter Biden, border issues, and whatever remains of inflation concerns -- all looking for a connection to President Biden.
Still, with all this disruption -- Fox News, in the middle of a typical politically low-profile news summer period -- the network remains on top of the leaderboard.
What will come during this fall and winter period? Former President Trump might not have that much TV network visibility, as the network continues to move away from Trump-focused content at times. More specifically, we wonder about those highly rated debate events.
In 2015/2016, those events resulted in heavy political spin and major gains among TV network viewers -- largely due to Trump.
A controversial CNN-programmed Trump Town Hall in New Hampshire gave CNN a major spike of 3.1 million viewers. That's nearly five times its June prime-time average!
The trouble is that Trump's recent thinking is that he may not participate in upcoming Republican Presidential debates.
Finding spikes in prepared TV new-issue programs will be a tough task over the next 12 months.