While both CNN and Fox News have seen their ratings slide in recent months for separate reasons, their left-leaning cable news rival experienced a significant viewership boost. In the second quarter of 2023, MSNBC averaged 796,000 total day viewers and 140,000 in the key 25-54 advertising demographic, marking gains of 16 percent and 23 percent year-to-year, respectively. In primetime, the network’s 1.26 million viewers overall and 139,000 in the demo were also up double-digits compared to last year. CNN, which recently fired chief Chris Licht amid negative headlines, staff dissent and sinking ratings, only averaged 463,000 total day viewers, which was down 11 percent from 2022, while its demo ratings sunk 16 percent. In primetime, it was even worse, as the network dropped 14 percent in total viewers and 19 percent in the demographic year-over-year. There was a slight sliver of hope, however, as the network witnessed very slight audience growth at night compared to the previous quarter. Fox News, which suffered the one-two punch of the blockbuster Dominion settlement and the firing of Tucker Carlson, still remained the most-watched cable news channel in both total day and primetime. However, the conservative cable giant’s total day viewership was down 20 percent compared to last year, and dropped 39 percent in the key demo. The primetime erosion was even more severe, as the network fell 25 percent in total viewers year over year and 48 percent in the demo. Two smaller cable news competitors, the far-right station Newsmax and the centrist NewsNation, both saw explosive growth amid the turmoil at Fox News and CNN.
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