They may have had a March ratings surge with their constant coverage of the missing Malaysian Airliner but it wasn’t enough to save CNN from one of their worst quarterly primetime results ever. Between December 30, 2013 and March 28, 2014, the Jeff Zucker-run cable news network pulled in an average of 498,000 total viewers between 8 PM and 11 PM and 169,000 among adults 25-54. While CNN saw a slight 3% dip in the key news demo, it slid 16% in total viewers from from Q1 2013. That viewership result slide tumbles CNN down to the third worst quarter it has ever had in total audience. Only the Q2 2012’s 446,000 and Q4 2013’s 474,000 were worst for network. Fellow cabler MSNBC was also down from Q1 2013. With 683,000 total viewers in primetime, MSNBC fell 10% in Q1 2014 from a year beforehand. Undoubtedly, all the shifts in the cabler’s schedule, anchor missteps and the vast underperformance of assumed golden boy Ronan Farrow were contributing factors in this fall. Still MSNBC had its best quarter in a year and held on to the No. #2 primetime spot in both total viewers and among adults 25-54 (214,000, down 4% from Q1 2013). The network was also second in total day with 394,000 viewers and 138,000 in the demo, a fall of 9% and a 2% from Q1 2103.
As CNN took a dive and MSNBC tumbled, Fox News Channel saw a small rise in both viewership and demo in primetime. The only cable news network to even edge up this quarter, FNC pulled in 1.8 million viewers and 293,000 in the 25-54s. That Q1 2014 result is up 4% and 3% respectively and beats both CNN and MSNBC combined in total viewers. With its No.#1 Total Day total viewership result of 1.09 million viewers FNC has had its 49th consecutive quarterly victory in both primetime and total day. Of course having the top 14 shows in cable news with The O’Reilly Factor (2.7M), The Kelly File (2.22M), The Five 2.13M), Special Report w/ Bret Baier (2.06M) and On The Record With Greta Van Susteren (1.81M) making up the Top 5 probably didn’t hurt either. Not only was FNC once again on top but they also came in fifth place in total viewers (1.804M) in all of cable behind No.#1 USA (2.186M), ESPN (2.11M), TBS (1.949M) and History (1.948M). MSNBC was No. #27 with 683,000, while CNN, with its 498,000, was tied for 34th spot with E! Entertainment.