Election Powers Cable News to Record November Ratings

CNN's John King
Courtesy of CNN

The presidential election and its aftermath resulted in another record-setting month for the three biggest cable news outlets.

CNN and MSNBC each had their most watched months ever, and Fox News turned in the best November performance in its history. The latter remained the No. 1 cable network in total viewers for the month, while CNN grabbed the lead in the core news demographic of adults 25-54.

Fox News continued its more than four-year streak of leading all of cable in total-day audience, averaging 1.94 million for the month to 1.78 million for CNN and 1.59 million for MSNBC. It also led in primetime, notching 3.94 million nightly viewers. CNN (2.8 million) edged MSNBC (2.66 million) for second place.

Fox News also had four of the top five individual shows in total viewers, paced by Tucker Carlson Tonight with 5.1 million viewers. Hannity was a close second with 4.98 million, and The Five (3.78 million) and The Ingraham Angle (3.776 million) took third and fourth place. Those same four shows also took top honors among adults 25-54, with Hannity in first position. Fox News also led all networks on election night.

The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC grabbed the fifth spot in total viewers with 3.44 million. CNN's Cuomo Prime Time was fifth in the 25-54 demo.

CNN topped the adults 25-54 rankings in both total day and primetime, in both cases more than tripling its November 2019 average. Fueled by a strong performance in the days after election night, it averaged 948,000 viewers in the key news demo in primetime (versus 827,000 for Fox News and 536,000 for MSNBC). For the full day, CNN drew 558,000 adults 25-54 to Fox News' 413,000 and MSNBC's 302,000.

MSNBC's total day and daytime viewership (1.1 million) both hit all-time highs in November, and its shows leading into and out of primetime enjoyed particularly strong months. The 11th Hour With Brian Williams led all of cable news at 11 p.m., averaging 2.5 million viewers for the month. Evening shows The Beat With Ari Melber (6 p.m. ET) and The ReidOut (7 p.m.) led their time periods among all viewers for the weeks of Nov. 9, 16 and 23.