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FOX News Sets Record for Election Night Viewership, Plus Weekly Cable News Ratings

Univision won the prime time total viewer battle of the Spanish-language networks over Telemundo from 8-11 p.m. ET, 1.95 million to 1.53 million.

Doug Pucci

Published

on

Coverage of the 2020 U.S. elections on Tuesday, Nov. 3 were approximately down 20 percent down in total viewership from four years ago (-57 million on Nov. 3, 2020 vs. 71.4 million on Nov. 8, 2016). But cable news showed its prominence in the TV landscape, as for the first time ever, each of the three major cable news stations outdrew any broadcast network in prime time election coverage among total viewers. Fox News Channel set a new cable record for election coverage with a prime time average of 14.09 million viewers, beating the previous all-time mark of 13.3 million by CNN in 2016. This year, CNN averaged 9.41 million while MSNBC drew 7.63 million. Mimicking recent debate ratings performances, ABC led the broadcast networks. They averaged 6.29 million, followed by NBC (5.79 million), CBS (4.48 million) and the Fox broadcast network (3 million).

Univision won the prime time total viewer battle of the Spanish-language networks over Telemundo from 8-11 p.m. ET, 1.95 million to 1.53 million.

The still-unconfirmed results of the Biden-Trump presidential race continued to push the three cable news stations way above their usual averages. CNN had its second biggest total-day viewer average in its 40-year history with 4.53 million viewers on Wednesday, Nov. 4 from 3 a.m. to 2:59 a.m. ET (this figure is preliminary since it has yet to factor out-of-home viewing; CNN’s largest-ever day occurred on Election Day of Nov. 8, 2016). From 8-11 p.m. on Nov. 4, CNN (7.38 million) was the most-watched network (in addition to leading the key 25-54 and 18-34 demos) followed by the Fox News Channel (6.51 million). The Fox broadcast network, the usual Wednesday night winner thanks to “The Masked Singer” and “I Can See Your Voice”, remained potent as it averaged 5.49 million, although that ranked third; MSNBC (4.97 million) was a close fourth.

NFL still reigned supreme on Thursday, Nov. 5 as the Fox broadcast network (12.72 million viewers for Packers-49ers from 8-11 p.m. ET) ruled all, but then cable news took the next three ranking spots: CNN as runner-up (6.61 million), Fox News in third (5.72 million), MSNBC fourth (5.07 million).

In the morning, Fox News was still the dominant cable outlet. From 6-9 a.m. ET, “Fox & Friends” averaged 4.64 million viewers on Nov. 4 and 2.49 million on Nov. 5.

As for the other morning cable news offerings:

  • CNN “Election Night in America” (Nov. 4 @ 6-9 a.m. ET): 2.91 million viewers
  • CNN “Election Night in America” (Nov. 5 @ 6-9 a.m. ET): 2.16 million viewers
  • MSNBC “Morning Joe” (Nov. 4 @ 6-9 a.m. ET): 2.40 million viewers
  • MSNBC “Morning Joe” (Nov. 5 @ 6-9 a.m. ET): 1.92 million viewers

From last week, Fox News Channel was tops among the cable networks in both viewers and adults 25-54 yet again; it even showed slight growth in total audience a week after the final Biden-Trump presidential debate. For the week ending Nov. 1, 2020 in total day data (from 6 a.m. to 5:59 a.m. each day), Fox News Channel averaged 2.44 million viewers and 463,000 adults 25-54.

As for the other news networks:

  • MSNBC: 1.39 million viewers, 224,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 1.25 million viewers, 314,000 adults 25-54

Top 10 most-watched cable news programs (and the top MSNBC and CNN programs with associated ranks) in total viewers:

1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 10/27/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 7.562 million viewers

2. Hannity (FOXNC, Mon. 10/26/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 7.304 million viewers

3. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 10/26/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 6.765 million viewers

4. Hannity (FOXNC, Tue. 10/27/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 6.403 million viewers

5. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 10/28/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 6.315 million viewers

6. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 10/29/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 6.129 million viewers

7. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 10/28/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 5.820 million viewers

8. Hannity (FOXNC, Thu. 10/29/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 5.376 million viewers

9. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Fri. 10/30/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 5.310 million viewers

10. Hannity (FOXNC, Fri. 10/30/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 4.988 million viewers

24. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Wed. 10/28/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.823 million viewers

44. Cuomo Prime Time (CNN, Wed. 10/28/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.004 million viewers

Top 10 cable news programs (and the top MSNBC and CNN programs with associated ranks) among adults 25-54:

1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 10/27/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.540 million adults 25-54

2. Hannity (FOXNC, Mon. 10/26/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.403 million adults 25-54

3. Hannity (FOXNC, Tue. 10/27/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.290 million adults 25-54

4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 10/26/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.276 million adults 25-54

5. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 10/28/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.245 million adults 25-54

6. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 10/28/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.212 million adults 25-54

7. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 10/29/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.101 million adults 25-54

8. Hannity (FOXNC, Thu. 10/29/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.978 million adults 25-54

9. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Fri. 10/30/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.975 million adults 25-54

10. The Ingraham Angle (FOXNC, Wed. 10/28/2020 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.945 million adults 25-54

25. Cuomo Prime Time (CNN, Wed. 10/28/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.691 million adults 25-54

30. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Wed. 10/28/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.652 million adults 25-54

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News Television

CNN Refutes Claims From Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro About Presidential Debate

“CNN’s proposed format was to have both candidates stand and both sides agreed to the rules when they agreed to debate.”

Barrett News Media

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A photo of the CNN logo

During Fox News’ The Five Monday, panelist Jeanine Pirro claimed CNN has mandated that the upcoming Presidential debate will be held with both candidates seated for the 90-minute event, in an effort to help President Joe Biden. The network has denied that accusation.

“They’re out there saying this election is not about age. Joe and the other guy are about the same age, even for the debate is– as Jesse is saying, they’re gonna be seated,” Pirro posited. “We don’t even get to see them walk in. They’ll be seated, so there is one less obstacle to worry about for Biden.”

However, CNN has denied that assertion.

“CNN’s proposed format was to have both candidates stand and both sides agreed to the rules when they agreed to debate,” a network spokesperson told Mediaite.

The argument presented by Pirro echoes that of a viral post on X from an account labeled as the Washington Reporter. The account only features 1,700 followers, but a post claiming that the Biden campaign was looking to renegotiate terms of the debate received more than 2.8 million views on the platform.

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News Television

Fox News Digital Sees Month-Over-Month Growth in Several Categories

On YouTube alone, the cable news giant saw 175.3 million views during the month of May.

Barrett News Media

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A photo of the Fox News logo

Fox News finished May as the top digital brand among news organizations in several metrics according to Comscore.

The network was the leader in multiplatform minutes and views, and saw growth in both categories during the month. In total, it earned more than 3.2 billion minutes, with 1.7 billion views, according to the report. 100 million unique visitors engaged with Fox News content on a digital platform. 5.8 million unique visitors utilized the company’s mobile app.

On social media, Fox News saw 26.4 million interactions, making it the most engaged news brand for the 117th consecutive month according to the network. On YouTube alone, the cable news giant saw 175.3 million views during the month of May.

Additionally, FOXBusiness.com saw more multiplatform views than both CNN Business and Bloomberg for the 37th consecutive month. 23.3 million unique visitors visited the brand on its various platforms.

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News Television

Fox News Announces Promotions for Peter Doocy and Jacqui Heinrich

“From the North Lawn to foreign summits to the campaign trail, it is my daily honor to seek answers for the American people on the issues impacting them most.”

Barrett News Media

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A photo of Peter Doocy and Jacqui Heinrich
(Photo: Fox News)

Fox News has announced that both Peter Doocy and Jacqui Heinrich have been elevated to the role of Senior White House Correspondent for the cable news outlet.

“I am honored to continue bringing our viewers the latest on the news that impacts them the most from the White House and around the globe,” Doocy, who has been with the network since 2009, said.

“Covering the White House has been the privilege of my career, and I am humbled and grateful to continue serving our viewers in this capacity,” said Heinrich. “From the North Lawn to foreign summits to the campaign trail, it is my daily honor to seek answers for the American people on the issues impacting them most.”

Jacqui Heinrich has been with Fox News since 2018, and has worked at the White House for the cable giant since 2021. In addition to her role at the White House, she’ll continue as co-host of the Fox News Rundown podcast.

“Peter’s commitment to providing viewers with hourly news and insight from the White House has remained steadfast since he started in this role straight off the 2020 campaign trail and we’re thrilled to have him continue doing so,” Fox News President and Executive Editor Jay Wallace said of Peter Doocy while announcing his promotion.

 “Since being named to the White House beat in 2021, Jacqui has distinguished herself with persistence, tenacity, and professionalism and we’re proud to have watched her career flourish at Fox News,” he added of Heinrich. 

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