Looks like wall-to-wall crippled cruise ship coverage wasn’t enough to get CNN off rough ratings seas. One full month since Jeff Zucker officially took over the cable news network, CNN saw a 5% dip in total day viewers and a 1% slip in primetime viewership in February as compared to January. Fox News Channel won February among cable news networks in terms of total day and primetime viewership with MSNBC coming in second and CNN in third. Last year, CNN was in second place after Fox. Also, despite the sharp bump the network got from its widely mocked expansive February 14 coverage of the Carnival Triumph’s tug to port, CNN saw a 4% slip this month in the Adults 25-54 demographic in both total day and primetime compared to January. Former NBC Universal exec Zucker formally stepped into his job as president CNN Worldwide on January 20 as the network was deep in political reporting and soon topped its rivals in Inauguration coverage. If those month-to-month figures are down, the year-to-year are down more. CNN fell 10% in total day viewership and 18% in primetime viewership from last February to an average audience of 424,000 during the day and 659,000 between 8 PM and 11 PM. The network was also down in the 25-54 demo from last year, falling 20% in total day and 32% in primetime.
Related: Fox News Tops 2012 Cable News Network Ratings; MSNBC Up
With The O’Reilly Factor and Hannity and more shows dominating the top spots, FNC pulled in 1.094 million total day viewers – more than MSNBC’s 432,000 and CNNs just behind 424,000 put together. That total day difference between MSNBC and CNN has been narrowing since a 180,000 spread in MSNBC’s favor last October. In primetime FNC had 1.79 million viewers, with 296,000 in the demo, compared to MSNBC’s 795,000 (234,000 among the 25-54) and CNN, which had 193,000 in the demo.
However, with the Presidential race and the ratings bumps it brings now over, CNN wasn’t the only cable news network to see a downward turn from last February. Fox News Channel fell 29% in the demo in total day compared to last year and 29% in primetime. However, FNC saw much smaller drops in viewership in February 2013 compared to February 2012. There was no difference in total day audience and 6% in primetime. Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity’s shows saw 26% and 35% demo drops from February last year. On the other hand, FNC was up 7% and 11% in total day and primetime viewership compared to January 2013 with a 9% and 11% rise in the demo respectively. Among all the individual shows on cable news, Anderson Cooper 360 was really the only one to see significant growth compared to last year. AC360 rose 42% in total viewers over last February and 27% in the demo. With the post-election bounce and the swearing-in over, MSNBC was down 12% in total day viewers from January and up 1% in primetime viewers. The network was also down 12% in the demo in total day but had no decline in primetime compared to the month before. This month, MSNBC saw a 5% drop in total day viewership with a 2% slip in the demo from February 2012. MSNBC was down 4% primetime in February compared to last year and 1% in the demo.