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Cable News TV Ratings: ‘Fox & Friends’ Breaks Record, CNN Leads Strong

2020 has been a record year for cable news. Election week has been no different, which saw Wednesday’s viewership benefit from chaos, uncertainty, and anger from both sides.

Wednesday morning, Fox & Friends recorded its highest-rated show in its 22-year history. From 6-9 a.m. ET, Fox News’ morning show drew 4.6 million viewers and over 1 million in the coveted 25-54 demographic.

Fox & Friends‘ 8 a.m. hour led the way with an unheard of 5.5 million viewers. In addition, it’s average outdrew primetime broadcast networks NBC (3.6 million), CBS (2.6 million), and ABC (3.1 million) on Wednesday.

With OutKick last week, Fox & Friends‘ co-host Brian Kilmeade discussed the potential storylines of the show’s next-day broadcast.

After two decades, the Fox & Friends brand continues to grow. In October, it drew 1.9 million viewers. It’s new weekend show — with Will Cain, Pete Hegseth, and Jedediah Bila — scored an eye-opening 2.8 million on Saturday at 9 a.m.

Wednesday, CNN’s primetime election coverage led all cable news. From 8-10 p.m. ET, CNN’s Election Night in America drew an enormous 7.9 million viewers. MSNBC’s special Wednesday night coverage failed to draw 5 million.

Fox News instead went with its normal primetime lineup. Tucker Carlson Tonight and Hannity averaged 7.3 million and 6.9 million, respectively. From 10 to 11 p.m, The Ingraham Angle pulled in 5.3 million.

CNN, which typically does not compete with Fox News and MSNBC in total day viewership but tops MSNBC in the demo, led all competition on Wednesday:

As for election night, Fox News topped cable and broadcast:

  1. Fox News: 14.1 million
  2. CNN: 9.4 million
  3. MSNBC: 7.6 million
  4. ABC 6.3 million viewers
  5. NBC: 5.7 million
  6. CBS: 4.5 million
  7. Fox broadcast network: 3 million

In addition, Fox News’ election night coverage increased 16% from 2016, while total election coverage on TV dropped 20%.

CNN and Fox News are election coverage winners. MSNBC was the clear loser, trailing both in ratings and in quality. MSNBC was a non-factor in primetime and got embarrassed by Joy Reid twice, once for her gross “Uncle Clarence” comment, once for calling the entire country “racist, anti-black, and anti-woke.”

Furthermore, both Fox News and CNN had individual winners — highlighted by John King, Bill Hemmer, and Dana Perino.

Thursday’s ratings come out later today, which should see cable news and Thursday Night Football dunk on the competition.

Follow Bobby Burack on Twitter.

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack covers any news story that deserves attention but focuses on media. His interests include reading Stephen King novels, avoiding traffic on the road, and pretending to solve true-crime mysteries. He still believes Cersei should've won and encourages everyone to always question the news.

4 Comments

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  1. Fox lost a lot of viewers with their garbage quality coverage and calling of Arizona so early. I’ve already heard from one customer at work that they’re DONE with Fox. I’ve been done with Fox for a while; I only tolerate certain individuals while doing their own thing from them and that’s about it these days.

    • Same. Apart from the big 3, Carlson, Hannity, and Ingram, Fox News is held together with duct tape. If 2 of those 3 left Fox would literally fold.

      When the younger Murdoch took the helm they canned OReilly, brought Paul “Lord of RINOs” Ryan on the board, and started nudging the coverage little by little towards a RINO/moderate Democrat perspective hoping no one would notice. They do.

      I think the big 3 should jump ship, partner with OReilly, the Trumps and go buy NewsMax. They could overtake Fox quickly by going full-on anti-establishment mode. That’s what people are going to be about the next 4 years after this 2020 fiasco.

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