Carlson's ratings on Fox closing in on O'Reilly's

Carlson's ratings on Fox closing in on O'Reilly's
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One year after taking over for Bill O'Reilly, ratings for Fox News host Tucker Carlson slightly trail the former cable news ratings leader, according to Nielsen Media Research.

"Tucker Carlson Tonight" averaged more than 2.9 million total viewers in the first three months of the year, which was good for third overall in the cable news race, behind Fox's Sean Hannity and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow.

The former CNN "Crossfire" and MSNBC host averaged 607,000 viewers in the key 25- to 54-year-old demographic, viewership numbers which also placed Carlson in the top three.

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"The O'Reilly Factor" brought in 3.3 million total viewers and 607,000 in the coveted demographic in O'Reilly's final month at the network.

"A lot has changed in the last 12 months, both on this show and in America, but the audience hasn't," Carlson said in addressing his audience directly on Friday night.

"Our viewers have been totally faithful. Sometimes skeptical, occasionally bewildered, but always there, every single night. That makes all the difference. We're grateful for that, no kidding. Thank you."

Carlson has occupied several timeslots on the network since leaving "Fox & Friends Weekend" for primetime.

The 48-year-old California native first served as an interim host for Greta Van Susteren at 7 p.m. in September 2016.

After the departure of Megyn Kelly to NBC, he was moved to 9 p.m. to fill the void, while Martha MacCallum eventually took over the 7 p.m. slot on a permanent basis in 2017.

Carlson was tapped to take over the 8 p.m. slot on April 24, 2017, after the network and O'Reilly parted ways amid sexual harassment allegations against the former host.