May Cable News Ratings: Fox News Gets Stomped

Ratings for cable news for the month of May 2011, bring bad news for Fox News. In the key demographic group of 25-54 year-olds, Fox was alone in declining during the primetime hours.


This was a really bad month for Fox News which lost viewers in the demo for every primetime show. Bill O’Reilly dropped 9%, Sean Hannity dropped 6%, and Greta Van Susteren dropped 12%. These declines occurred while almost every primetime program for both CNN and MSNBC gained by double digits. The only good news for Fox is that Glenn Beck, which sunk 17% in the demo, has already been canceled so he can’t do too much more harm.

An interesting wrinkle in this book is that MSNBC was also the number one cable news network among 18-34 year-olds in primetime, with a 7% advantage over CNN and a 14% lead over Fox News. That is not a demo that gets much attention from an advertising point of view, but it signals an opportunity for future growth that the network can exploit. It also affirms the weakness of Fox among young viewers. That explains why Beck is so openly hostile to young people.

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33 thoughts on “May Cable News Ratings: Fox News Gets Stomped

  1. This explains the ‘move forward’ ad I saw today. They can’t even write their own original ads.

  2. With their main demographic (65-death) it’s surprising the main advertisers aren’t all funeral parlors.

  3. I think this is great! Younger more educated people aren’t going to be fooled by Fox not News. The secret is out, everyone who pays attentions knows Fox is a completely right-wing biased organization and now it is showing in the demo ratings. I hope the trend continues. One thing Murdoch will pay attention to is his bottom line. They need to clean house but I’m not holding my breath.

    • Well I am 63 yrs old and I have always considered myself a social democrat and I have been watching MSNBC cable in the evening for a very very long time. I will be watching Current for Keith O. Not all old people watch the lying channel of Fox and I lost respect for CNN when they became Fox Light. I have always like young people. I only have a high school education but I have travelled the world. Seeing the world with an open mind you learn so much. I see with our young a great future for america.

      • Here’s a 58 year old who feels the same – there are more of us than the lamestream media knows.

        • Yeah, we know there are a great number of gullible fools willing to swallow whatever the Democrats present through their news channels and call it truth.

          The vitriol you folks spew towards Fox News just adds to their lustre.

          And despite any temporary decline they still beat the combined total of CNN and MSNBC.

          Did the author of this idiotic post overlook that?

          • Murdoch’s career and wealth have been built on tracking the baby-boomers through life. There are other factors to his targeted audience, some more overtly political, but his expansion into the USA was chiefly fueled by the success of the British newspaper, The Sun.

            As this target audience has aged, the product has changed to match. Page Three of The Sun is no longer the defining feature. The people who once bought his products for the topless “glamour” models are now more likely to be scared by the easy access to porn.

            And events in the UK suggest that he is willing to bias the politics expressed by his media empire to favor the party which promises him the most profit.

            Love or hate Fox News today, you shouldn’t expect it to be the same for every election season.

  4. Up 26%? That’s like one more person, right?

    • Aaah…you must be one of these Fox news viewers who believes that high ratings = truth. I think the truth is that conservatives NEED a tv channel telling them what to think and what their opinions are. This is why Fox leads in the ratings.

      Liberals don’t need to rely on some news network to make their opinions for them, and the ratings for MSNBC suffer as a result.

      So you and the Fox news audience keep pretending like high ratings mean something to the average person…maybe Murdoch will give you a job as an executive.

      • Liberals…so funny. They’ve populated all of our universities and media – but they can’t figure out how Foxnews is so popular?! Thus campaigns like Media Matters, this website, etc etc. Hilarious. These statistical games are like listening to Hitlers generals explain what was happening on the Eastern Front.

  5. About fucking time some people wake up if you ask me………

  6. Yes but the Fox viewership is huge ,absolutely massive, they still easily eclipse the others, even the second and third broadcast. Very misleading graphic and narrative.

    • The graphic is 100% percent accurate. It isn’t misleading just because you wish it represented something different. And Fox’s viewership is hardly massive. It is less than 1% of the viewing audience. It is less than SpongeBob SquarePants. The highest rated program on Fox (O’Reilly) has half the viewers as the lowest rated broadcast news program (Couric/CBS).

      Comment again when you know what you’re talking about.

    • It also needs to be repeated that Fox News’ high ratings are a result of them capturing a whole political leaning. Those who do not lean right splinter their viewership to many other sources, while almost all conservatives claim Fox as their news source.

  7. I’m with you Benny. And you AFM. I’m 53 and used to watch CNN until they became Fox lite. I’m encouraged to see the younger folks thinking for themselves. Pretty smart generation coming up if you ask me.

    • As long as the Republicans don’t dumb down our education system by defunding.

  8. This is tremendous news that portends well for the recovery of national political and scientific sanity in American. The experiment in dumbing down the good people of this country, by that Australian megalomaniac, Murdoch, looks like being a total failure.

  9. Past tense of sink is sank. Sunk is past perfect. Geez, why can’t you people learn English?!

    • 1) You started your first sentence with “Past”.
      2) “Geez” is not a word.
      3) You placed an exclamation point after a question mark.

      All of these are incorrect.
      Why can’t YOU people learn English?!?!?!?!?!?!?

  10. Fox News had eight of the top 10 cable news programs in the key adults 25-54 demo, and the top 12 programs in total viewers for the month of May, while FNC’s Bill O’Reilly, CNN’s Anderson Cooper and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow led their respective networks in the ratings.

    The top FNC program and top cable news program in both total and demo viewers remains “The O’Reilly Factor,” which averaged 2.84 million total viewers, and 630K demo viewers.

    The top CNN program was “AC360,” which placed seventh overall in the demo with 388K viewers and 14th in total viewers with 1.03 million.

    The top MSNBC program was “The Rachel Maddow Show,” which placed 10th overall in the demo with 336K viewers, and 13th overall in total viewers with 1.06 million.

    The full cable program rankers are after the jump.

    • Yeah this guy just posted great news about FNC’s ratings. I didn’t know he was such a fan :)

  11. Although I am thrilled that FNC has dropped, I do not see CNN as a great alternative. CNN was a key player in the establishment and success of the Tea Party Express, and if CNN is the future of unbiased reporting, then even liberals are in trouble.

  12. You all seem to be following your brothers cry on party line against the, claims about the lies of fox newshowener i find it quiet debuious you never mention facts it always a media matters inuindo or a “title spin” from a far left wing parrot.. One can find screw up’s or misquotes but i don’t ever remember the lies you talk of.
    Being a long time democrat but a no time lefty fringer never did walk the party, and it scares me ro death caiiing mysels a democrat.

    • It scares me that you’re that drunk and typing.

  13. “…the internet’s chronicle of media decay.” Your title is a joke. All your content only concerns value judgements about Fox–making sure you don’t let fact get in the way of a predetermined commitment to paint FNC (AND CONSERVATIVES) black. AMATEURISH AND BORRRING!!!

  14. you people are dillusional O riely had 6.5 million viewers to cnn and msnbc’s bareley a million, when your getting trounced that bad a 25%increase is miniscual and Beck 2 million viewers at 4pm central is bad cuz he is down from 2010. Those numbers are unprecedented for news at that time. Most people are at work or driving home! Jealous and dillusional libs!

  15. FNC crap May rateings may also stem from Comcasts conversion to a all digital format and the moving of FNC to the digital tier could have caused a slump. Its Comcasts move to kill off bootleggers so no bs comments about not needing a converter box for cable tv. They are 2 different boxes the over the air dtv box will not help you get digital cable. Sorry gang:(

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