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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.
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:
— RoadMN (@RoadMN) November 5, 2020
As for election night, Fox News topped cable and broadcast:
- Fox News: 14.1 million
- CNN: 9.4 million
- MSNBC: 7.6 million
- ABC 6.3 million viewers
- NBC: 5.7 million
- CBS: 4.5 million
- 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.