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FOX News Sets Record for Election Night Viewership, Plus Weekly Cable News Ratings

Univision won the prime time total viewer battle of the Spanish-language networks over Telemundo from 8-11 p.m. ET, 1.95 million to 1.53 million.

Douglas Pucci

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Coverage of the 2020 U.S. elections on Tuesday, Nov. 3 were approximately down 20 percent down in total viewership from four years ago (-57 million on Nov. 3, 2020 vs. 71.4 million on Nov. 8, 2016). But cable news showed its prominence in the TV landscape, as for the first time ever, each of the three major cable news stations outdrew any broadcast network in prime time election coverage among total viewers. Fox News Channel set a new cable record for election coverage with a prime time average of 14.09 million viewers, beating the previous all-time mark of 13.3 million by CNN in 2016. This year, CNN averaged 9.41 million while MSNBC drew 7.63 million. Mimicking recent debate ratings performances, ABC led the broadcast networks. They averaged 6.29 million, followed by NBC (5.79 million), CBS (4.48 million) and the Fox broadcast network (3 million).

Univision won the prime time total viewer battle of the Spanish-language networks over Telemundo from 8-11 p.m. ET, 1.95 million to 1.53 million.

The still-unconfirmed results of the Biden-Trump presidential race continued to push the three cable news stations way above their usual averages. CNN had its second biggest total-day viewer average in its 40-year history with 4.53 million viewers on Wednesday, Nov. 4 from 3 a.m. to 2:59 a.m. ET (this figure is preliminary since it has yet to factor out-of-home viewing; CNN’s largest-ever day occurred on Election Day of Nov. 8, 2016). From 8-11 p.m. on Nov. 4, CNN (7.38 million) was the most-watched network (in addition to leading the key 25-54 and 18-34 demos) followed by the Fox News Channel (6.51 million). The Fox broadcast network, the usual Wednesday night winner thanks to “The Masked Singer” and “I Can See Your Voice”, remained potent as it averaged 5.49 million, although that ranked third; MSNBC (4.97 million) was a close fourth.

NFL still reigned supreme on Thursday, Nov. 5 as the Fox broadcast network (12.72 million viewers for Packers-49ers from 8-11 p.m. ET) ruled all, but then cable news took the next three ranking spots: CNN as runner-up (6.61 million), Fox News in third (5.72 million), MSNBC fourth (5.07 million).

In the morning, Fox News was still the dominant cable outlet. From 6-9 a.m. ET, “Fox & Friends” averaged 4.64 million viewers on Nov. 4 and 2.49 million on Nov. 5.

As for the other morning cable news offerings:

  • CNN “Election Night in America” (Nov. 4 @ 6-9 a.m. ET): 2.91 million viewers
  • CNN “Election Night in America” (Nov. 5 @ 6-9 a.m. ET): 2.16 million viewers
  • MSNBC “Morning Joe” (Nov. 4 @ 6-9 a.m. ET): 2.40 million viewers
  • MSNBC “Morning Joe” (Nov. 5 @ 6-9 a.m. ET): 1.92 million viewers

From last week, Fox News Channel was tops among the cable networks in both viewers and adults 25-54 yet again; it even showed slight growth in total audience a week after the final Biden-Trump presidential debate. For the week ending Nov. 1, 2020 in total day data (from 6 a.m. to 5:59 a.m. each day), Fox News Channel averaged 2.44 million viewers and 463,000 adults 25-54.

As for the other news networks:

  • MSNBC: 1.39 million viewers, 224,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 1.25 million viewers, 314,000 adults 25-54

Top 10 most-watched cable news programs (and the top MSNBC and CNN programs with associated ranks) in total viewers:

1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 10/27/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 7.562 million viewers

2. Hannity (FOXNC, Mon. 10/26/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 7.304 million viewers

3. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 10/26/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 6.765 million viewers

4. Hannity (FOXNC, Tue. 10/27/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 6.403 million viewers

5. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 10/28/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 6.315 million viewers

6. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 10/29/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 6.129 million viewers

7. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 10/28/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 5.820 million viewers

8. Hannity (FOXNC, Thu. 10/29/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 5.376 million viewers

9. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Fri. 10/30/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 5.310 million viewers

10. Hannity (FOXNC, Fri. 10/30/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 4.988 million viewers

24. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Wed. 10/28/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.823 million viewers

44. Cuomo Prime Time (CNN, Wed. 10/28/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.004 million viewers

Top 10 cable news programs (and the top MSNBC and CNN programs with associated ranks) among adults 25-54:

1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 10/27/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.540 million adults 25-54

2. Hannity (FOXNC, Mon. 10/26/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.403 million adults 25-54

3. Hannity (FOXNC, Tue. 10/27/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.290 million adults 25-54

4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 10/26/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.276 million adults 25-54

5. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 10/28/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.245 million adults 25-54

6. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 10/28/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.212 million adults 25-54

7. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 10/29/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.101 million adults 25-54

8. Hannity (FOXNC, Thu. 10/29/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.978 million adults 25-54

9. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Fri. 10/30/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.975 million adults 25-54

10. The Ingraham Angle (FOXNC, Wed. 10/28/2020 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.945 million adults 25-54

25. Cuomo Prime Time (CNN, Wed. 10/28/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.691 million adults 25-54

30. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Wed. 10/28/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.652 million adults 25-54

News Television

Jay Weber: ‘Younger and Younger’ People Listening to Conservative Radio

“But, for some reason, we’re having even those younger and younger listeners tuning in. It’s not just dad or grandpa’s radio station, anymore.”

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Newstalk 1130 WISN’s Jay Weber noted during his show Wednesday morning the Milwaukee station is seeing an influx of younger listeners, according to the latest Nielsen numbers.

While discussing Gutfeld on Fox News being the highest rated “late night” television show, beating the likes of Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, and Jimmy Fallon, Weber described an uptick in younger, less-traditional talk radio demographics.

“We, here on WISN, have been doing better with younger and younger listeners, recently, and during this last book WISN was the top radio station among all demographics,” Weber said. “The so-called six-plus demo, that signifies six-year-old and older — which is an idiotic measurement — but it captures the 18-to-25 demo that, historically, talk radio and stations like WISN didn’t do so well with. But, for some reason, we’re having even those younger and younger listeners tuning in. It’s not just dad or grandpa’s radio station, anymore.

“And I don’t know if this is a larger talk radio trend, or whether this is a lasting trend, but it would stand to reason that if a larger chunk of today’s young people is coming right out of the box as more fiscally and socially conservative people than previous generations, it would stand to reason that we would see it reflected in the ratings and consumer profiles of stations like Fox News and WISN.”

Gutfeld won the ratings battle in the 25-54 demographic, averaging 397,000 viewers to Stephen Colbert’s 373,000.

“Folks, Gutfeld leading Kimmel, Colbert, etc… with young people? That’s an interesting trend,” Weber said. “Their shows are a nightly dose of liberalism. Gutfeld’s show is a nightly dose of conservatism. And look which one is winning out. Even with the younger demographics.”

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News Television

Eric Bolling Questions Laura Ingraham After Trump Comments

“Solid, solid Trump supporter. Even spoke at the (Republican) National Convention for Trump. What do you mean, ‘no Trump;? What’s wrong with you?”

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Fox News host Laura Ingraham has made comments recently suggesting it might be time for America to move past Donald Trump. Newsmax’s Eric Bolling strongly disagrees.

“Donald Trump’s been a friend of mine for 25 years, and I’m always very open about this on my show,” Ingraham said on The Truth with Lisa Boothe podcast. “But, you know, we’ll see whether that’s what the country wants. The country I think is so exhausted, they’re exhausted by the battle, the constant battle, that they may believe that, well, maybe it’s time to turn the page if we can get someone who has all Trump’s policies, who’s not Trump.”

Bolling, during a segment discussing the FBI’s raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, called Ingraham a friend before saying “Much like the organization she works for, Fox News’ Laura Ingraham seems to have thrown in the proverbial Trump towel.”

After airing the clip of Ingraham’s statement, Bolling said “Respectfully, I beg to differ, Laura. A friend of mine. Solid, solid Trump supporter. Even spoke at the (Republican) National Convention for Trump. What do you mean, ‘no Trump;? What’s wrong with you?”

It’s not the first time Bolling has accused Fox News of dumping Trump, claiming the network “turned their back” on the former President earlier this month. MSNBC’s Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough also insinuated the network had left Trump behind to push Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) in July.

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News Television

Trevor Noah: ESPN Should Let NBA Broadcasters Cover Elections

The NBA hopes teams use that night as an opportunity to encourage fans to vote and amplify the need for civic engagement. 

Eduardo Razo

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The NBA announced it is taking Election Day off as the league will have all 30 teams playing the night before Americans head to the voting polls. 

Furthermore, the NBA hopes teams use that night as an opportunity to encourage fans to vote and amplify the need for civic engagement. 

During his monologue for Tuesday’s edition of “The Daily Show,” host Trevor Noah spotlighted the decision and made a crazy suggestion to NBA television partners like ESPN. 

With no games to call, Noah joked that ESPN commentators should look head to the polls and do play-by-play of Americans voting as if it were an NBA game. 

“I think since there’s no games on that night, the ESPN commentators should cover voting if they cover the NBA, just make it super interesting,” Noah said. 

“Jeremy Wilkins is coming up to the voting booth now. It’s his first season voting. He’s really, oh no, he called outside the bubble. That’s not going to scan; the refs are not going to like it at all.”

Along with encouraging their fans to vote on Nov. 8, teams will share election information such as registration deadlines. 

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