The start of the Biden administration was a definite turn-off, according to new data.
Ratings for the final week of January show that CNN, which was riding high in the first weeks of the month when it was the king of prime time, has slumped into third place behind Fox News and MSNBC amid a general slump in viewership across all three networks, according to Variety.
The month opened with CNN ranked first in prime time ratings, averaging 4.2 million viewers over the first two weeks of the month, according to Forbes. MSNBC was in second after the first two weeks with an average of 3.8 million prime time viewers while Fox was third with 3.2 million prime time viewers.
Those two weeks included CNN’s saturation coverage of the Jan. 6 Capitol incursion and its aftermath, leading the network to have an average of 5.2 million viewers tuning in, according to CNN Press Room Blog.
But oh what a fall was there.
By the final week of the month, CNN was averaging 2.04 million viewers in that time slot, losing 61 percent of its viewers in only a few weeks. Similar losses were posted in other time clots, as CNN’s 9 p.m. hour dropped by 58 percent and its 10 p.m. time slot by almost 62 percent.
To be fair, the supercharged week of the incursion was unique, and viewership dropped on all three channels, although on Fox, Tucker Carlson’s 8 p.m. time slot dipped by 17 percent. Rachel Maddow’s 9 p.m. time slot on MSNBC dropped by 30 percent.
Although a drop in ratings might be expected from the dramatic week that opened the year, CNN has been tumbling even more since President Joe Biden took office.
When Variety compared CNN’s ratings for the final week of January to the week before, during which Biden was inaugurated, it found declines unmatched by either of the other cable news networks.
From the week that included Biden taking office to the next, CNN was down 43.69 percent at 8 p.m., 44.66 percent at 9 p.m. and 44.99 percent at 10 p.m.
On Fox, Tucker Carlson posted a modest week-over-week increase of .13 percent, while Laura Ingraham’s 9 p.m. slot was down 5.98 percent and Sean Hannity’s 10 p.m. slot was down 4.43 percent.
On MSNBC, Maddow did the best of the bunch, being down by 11 percent week over week. MSNBC’s 8 p.m. time slot was down 18.83 percent while the 10 p.m. time slot dropped 19.42 percent.
In looking at the viewing habits of the 25-54 age group, CNN saw declines in viewership of 50 percent or more in all three of its primetime news hours.
In analyzing the numbers for Variety, Gavin Bridge wrote, “While it’s too early to conclude any longer-term direction for news ratings after just one week, the downturn could be interpreted as an indicator of what many industry observers had anticipated: With Biden in the White House, networks that have spent the last four years railing consistently against Trump have lost the main attraction that energized their audience bases, making it difficult to hold onto the elevated viewing levels.”
Andrew Wallenstein noted on Variety that Trump has been good for ratings.
News accounted for 20.0% of all national TV viewing in 2020, easily making it the most-watched genre of TV content.
Americans watched 3.165 trillion minutes of national TV news per Nielsen, or roughly 160 hours per person.
— Michael Mulvihill (@mulvihill79) January 5, 2021
“From a news perspective, the beauty of the Trump years was in the constant drama that kept people glued to the tube. Consider the astounding growth in consumption news has experienced over the past five years, going from the fifth most watched genre on TV to the first, from 10% to 20% of total minutes viewed, per Nielsen data. That equates to more than 3 million minutes of national TV watched in 2020, or 160 hours per person,” he wrote.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
ARTICLE SOURCE: thefederalistpapers.org