Fox News host Sean Hannity wasn’t the king of prime-time in April.
Tucker Carlson had the highest ratings of Fox’s prime-time hosts last month, the Washington Examiner reported, as public interest in the coronavirus delivered a ratings surge across cable news. Overall, Fox continued to dominate and had its highest monthly prime-time ratings ever.
Carlson tops Hannity
Hannity has ranked No. 1 in cable since taking over the 9 p.m. slot — that is, until last month.
According to Nielsen Media Research, Hannity had 4.4 million average viewers and 809,000 viewers in the important 25-to-54 demographic, the Examiner reported. By comparison, Carlson had 4.6 million average total viewers and 885,000 in the 25-to-54 category.
It was also Carlson’s highest-rated month ever.
April was dominated by coverage of the virus, and it was also the first full month that many Americans were living under draconian lockdown orders enacted to fight the virus. Carlson, for his part, has been highly critical of the lockdowns and the public officials behind them.
In an unusual turn, the No. 1 host at Fox overall was Bret Baier, host of Special Report. He received an average of 5.3 million viewers and 1.1 million in the 25-to-54 demographic, according to the Examiner.
Donald Trump’s free-wheeling coronavirus news briefings probably had a cascade effect on ratings, as the briefings frequently cut into Baier’s 6 p.m. show.
Tucker Carlson Tonight at 8 p.m. and Martha McCallum’s The Story at 7 p.m., which have followed the often wild pressers, likely got a boost as well.
April was also a huge month for all of cable, with CNN and MSNBC also seeing a spike, but Fox continued to stay on top with its best prime-time ratings ever. According to Forbes, Fox had an average of 3.68 million prime-time viewers, compared with just over 2 million at MSNBC and under 2 million at CNN.
The ratings war comes as a media battle has intensified over the coronavirus, with many in liberal media accusing Fox of somehow downplaying the seriousness of the pandemic. Carlson, a notable voice who took the virus seriously early on, is one of those who has said that the mainstream media was distracted by impeachment drama when the pandemic was getting started.
The coronavirus has now killed over 60,000 Americans, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.