Donald Trump continued to be good news for cable news networks in 2017. Beneficiaries include both the network he likes (Fox News Channel) and those he hates/threatens (everyone else).
Fox News Channel finished the calendar year as the most watched basic cable network in both primetime (2.424M viewers) and total day (1.500M) for a second consecutive year. In total day, 2017 was FNC’s most watched year in its history. In primetime, Sean Hannity’s show was cable news viewers fave, clocking nearly 3.2 million viewers each night.
FNC also dominated in the news demo, 25-54, clocking 488K viewers in primetime and 321K in total day.
FNC tallied 15 of the Top 20 cable news programs in total viewers for the year, and 12 of the top 20 programs with A25-54. And Hannity’s show tied Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC program for the year’s top spot among cable programs in the younger 18-49 demographic – 417K viewers. FNC’s Tucker Carlson Tonight (355K) bested CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 (335K) in the younger demo.
MSNBC finishes 2017 ranked No. 3 in primetime (1.632M) among cable networks, behind only FNC and ESPN (1.92M). In total day MSNBC ranks No. 3, (889K), behind only FNC and Nickelodeon (1.123M). More to the point, MSNBC topped CNN in total day total viewers for the first time since 2012. (CNN insists it’s focused on the 25-54 year old age bracket on which advertiser sales ares based.) Again in 2017, Rachel Maddow’s program was MSNBC’s biggest ratings getter, despite this year’s Hannity competition, averaging 2.539M viewers and 585K in the news demo.
MSNBC boasts the most impressive year-to-year gains, topped by primetime’s total-viewer pop of 51%, and 37% in the demo. Total day-wise, MSNBC jumped 47% in total viewers and 33% in the news age bracket.
For CNN, 2017 was its highest rated on record in total day. Here, CNN ranks No. 5 among basic cable networks, with an average of 783K viewers – CNN’s first time in the Top 10 since 1995. In primetime, CNN ranked No. 10 among cable nets with an average of 1.062M.
MSNBC bested CNN for primetime in total viewers, but they’re neck and neck, with 371K viewers apiece, in the news demo. In total day, MSNBC outstrips CNN, but CNN trounced MSNBC in the demo (257K to 203K, respectively).
CNN notes it’s audience was younger than its cable news competitors in 2017. In total day, the median age of the CNN viewer (60 years) is five years younger than FNCs and MSNBC (65). Yes, FNC’s median age is the same as MSNBC’s in total day for 2017.
In prime time, CNN logged a median age (59) that’s seven years younger than FNC (66) and six years younger than MSNBC (65).
Among CNN’s bright spots, Anderson Cooper 360 (1.238M viewers, 425K demo viewers) was the net’s most watched primetime series, marking its best numbers on record.
And Don Lemon, who seems to especially get under Trump’s skin and cause him to break out in one of his bully rashes – most recently Trump tweeted Lemon was the “dumbest man on television” – also logged his best deliveries ever in total viewers (1.105M) and the demo (399K), growing the most year to year of any CNN weekday primetime program.