Fox News Tops ESPN As Most-Watched Cable Network While CNN Sheds Nearly 90% Of 2021 Audience


The new year began with Fox News Channel as the No. From Jan. 3-9, 2022 Fox News Channel was the No. 1 basic cable network. CNN suffered dramatic declines and lost nearly 90% of its early 2021 audience. CNN had an average of 2.7 million viewers between Jan. 4-10, last year. After a brief spike post-election, the average viewer dropped to 548,000 last week. This is a dramatic year-over-year decrease of 80%.

The average Fox News viewership was 1.4 million last week, a 15% decrease from the first week of 2021 when there was a packed news cycle, which included the Capitol riot. For 21 consecutive weeks, Fox News has outdrawn MSNBC and CNN combined. Fox News also surpassed ESPN’s 1.1million viewers, which is NFL-heavy, to be the most-watched basic cable option.

CNN’s shocking decline among adults 25-54 is worse than the advertiser-coveted demographic. CNN lost 86% of its viewers last week and had only 113,000 viewers on average. This comes after an average of 822,000 viewers a year ago.

CNN lost nearly 90% of its 2021 audience among people aged 18-49 by dropping from 624,000 to 73,000 younger viewers.

MSNBC also lost significant viewers last week, dropping 67% of its total audience and 80% of the key demo, as well as 83% of the younger viewers. MSNBC had only 88,000 viewers in the advertiser-favorite demo, finishing behind struggling CNN. Fox News dominated both liberal options, capturing 223,000 viewers on average among the demo and retaining at least 65% in all other day categories.

CNN’s problems at attracting viewers were most apparent during primetime hours between 8-11 p.m. When it fell from 4.2 million viewers in the first week of 2021, to just 705,000 last week, a drop of 83% year-over-year. CNN lost 89% of its primetime viewers in the key demo, and 91% among viewers aged 18 to 49.

MSNBC lost 66% of total primetime viewership, 81% among key demos, and 84% in younger categories, while Fox News maintained at least 55% primetime viewership in all categories.

CNN boasted last year that Jan. 7 was the most-watched day of liberal network history for its coverage of the Capitol Riot. While many observers mock CNN for tweeting about its rating success on the CNN anchors’ “darkest day in American history”, the viewership totals since the one-year anniversary indicate that Americans have moved away.

On Jan. 6, 2021, CNN had 5.3 million viewers, but it failed to reach 1.5 million during the hour when special programming was presented by the liberal network. CNN saw an 86% decrease in viewers, with an average of 743,000 viewers on January 6, 2022. CNN’s Jan. 6, 2022 coverage saw a 92% decline in viewers from the key demo and an 87% drop in primetime viewers.

Fox News had an average of 1.6 million viewers in primetime, 2.8 million during primetime, and 449,000 within the primetime demo. This was enough to surpass CNN and MSNBC in every category on this somber anniversary. Fox News also ranked No. During President Biden’s remarks, Fox News was the No. 1 cable news network. It attracted 1.7 million viewers and 270,000 from the demo.