Cable news audience numbers jump amid coronavirus, protests

Cable news audience numbers jump amid coronavirus, protests
© Greg Nash

Viewership for the three major cable news networks increased across the board in May, as more Americans tuned in for coverage of the coronavirus and nationwide protests over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Fox News, CNN and MSNBC all saw considerable gains last month compared with May 2019, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Fox News was up 44 percent in prime time, averaging 3.44 million viewers. The network claimed the top spot for the 221st consecutive month.


MSNBC was second with 1.92 million viewers, a 16 percent increase.

CNN had the biggest increase, up 117 percent compared with last year, but finished third with 1.65 million total viewers.

In the 25- to 54-year-old demographic during prime time, Fox News averaged 558,000 viewers, up 48 percent from last year.

CNN topped MSNBC in that demographic with 464,000 viewers, an increase of 151 percent. MSNBC averaged 293,000 viewers in that group, an increase of 21 percent.

Fox News once again claimed the top five most-watched programs on cable news, with "Hannity" notching the most total viewers at 4.23 million.

"Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonTammy Duckworth is the epitome of the American Dream DeVos 'very seriously' considering withholding funding from schools that don't reopen Biden dismisses 'disgusting, sickening' criticism of Duckworth's patriotism MORE Tonight" led the category that advertisers covet most — viewers age 25 to 54 — by averaging 700,000 viewers a night. Carlson finished second in total viewers with 4.19 million.

"The Five" finished third overall with 3.73 million total viewers, followed by "The Ingraham Angle" with 3.73 million and "Special Report with Bret Baier" with 3.085 million.

MSNBC's most-watched program was again "The Rachel MaddowRachel Anne MaddowSusan Rice sees stock rise in Biden VP race Trump dings CNN, 'Morning Joe' ratings as Tucker Carlson sets record Susan Rice 'humbled and honored' by rumors Biden considering her for VP MORE Show," which finished sixth overall behind Baier. CNN's top-rated show was "Cuomo Prime Time" with 1.78 million viewers, finishing 19th overall in total viewers.