For much of the past five years, CNN positioned itself as an opposing mainstream media force against former President Donald Trump, and in the process, the network enjoyed a sustained period of boosted ratings from its incessant negative coverage of the 45th president.
However, according to Mediaite, since Trump is no longer in the White House and the center of attention in the political world, the once-respected cable news network appears to be losing steam in humiliating fashion.
Where did the viewers go?
Mediaite cited data from a Nielsen ratings report released on Thursday indicating that CNN had “less than half of Fox News’ total viewership numbers in key dayparts.”
Although CNN did manage to outperform left-leaning rival MSNBC among those between the ages of 25 and 54 in daytime hours, Fox News easily bested both networks in the coveted demographic.
The bad news for CNN didn’t end with its daytime programming, either. Fox News host Tucker Carlson pulled in an astonishing 2.5 million viewer average in his primetime slot, far outpacing the 993,000 viewer average for CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
Not only did CNN’s average primetime audience of 985,000 viewers trail that of Fox News’ 2.48 million, but it also fell far behind MSNBC’s total of 1.99 million.
Additionally, a similar scenario played out in the morning programming slate, with Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” attracting 1.2 million viewers on average compared to 544,000 viewers who watched CNN’s “New Day.” MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” landed in the middle of the pack with 976,000 viewers.
Don Lemon “not worried” about ratings
During an appearance last month on The New York Times’ podcast “Sway,” CNN primetime personality Don Lemon suggested to podcast host Kara Swisher that the drop in ratings was a small price to pay for Trump’s removal.
“No. I’m not worried about it,” Lemon said, according to Fox News, after Swisher asked him if he had any concerns over “the viewership fizzle.”
“Trump was a horrible person,” Lemon continued. “And he was terrible for the country. And it is better for all — for the world that he is no longer the President of the United States.”
Lemon added: “So if that means that cable news ratings go down? Aww. So I’m not really that concerned about it. I would prefer that my ratings go down and Trump not be in office than my ratings be sky-high and him be there. That’s the honest truth.”
Fox News also noted that CNN’s anemic numbers represented a significant shift from last year, pointing out that the network — once a formidable competitor in the cable news landscape — experienced a ratings decline of 54% since President Joe Biden took office in January.