Halfway through 2015, the cable news trends seen in January have yet to shift. CNN remains much improved from 2014, No. 1 Fox News Channel enjoys its biggest gains in primetime and MSNBC’s ratings slide continues — even as political coverage heats up with the official start of presidential campaigning.
For the months of April, May and June, MSNBC ratings fell 18 percent in primetime for an average 130,000 viewers in the news demo of adults 25-54. It also brought another low for flagship The Rachel Maddow Show, averaging a notch behind its Q1 ratings with 143,000 viewers in the targeted age group.
The plan to turn MSNBC around is still very much a work in progress, with the recent return of Andy Lack and the announcement of Brian Williams‘ move to the network seen as the first big steps for a course correct.
There certainly wasn’t any shortage of news stories in the second quarter — particularly in the second half, when the shooting in Charleston, SCOTUS decisions, manhunts for escaped prisoners and, in more tabloid-y fodder, the Duggar family scandal dominated coverage on all three of the big nets.
There was more good news for CNN, which again improved its lot from the first quarter, climbing 25 percent in primetime with an average 195,000 adults 25-54. The network is now leading MSNBC in primetime by the largest margin in nearly nine years. (Its daytime demo showing was up by 31 percent to an average 138,000 viewers.)
FNC also was up in primetime. The network climbed 14 percent from a year ago to an average 301,000 viewers in the key demo. With gets like the Duggar family, Megyn Kelly also boasted her second monthly win ever in the key demo. She topped perennial No. 1 Bill O’Reilly in June with an average 400,000 adults 25-54.
See the complete comparisons between Q2 2015 and 2014 below.
1. FNC: 1,603,000 viewers (up 1 percent); 301,000 adults 25-54 (up 14 percent)
2. CNN: 560,000 viewers (up 22 percent); 195,000 adults 25-54 (up 25 percent)
3. MSNBC: 512,000 viewers (down 10 percent); 130,000 adults 25-54 (down 18 percent)
1. FNC: 974,000 viewers (up 4 percent); 186,000 adults 25-54 (down 2 percent)
2. CNN: 431,000 viewers (up 26 percent); 138,000 adults 25-54 (up 31 percent)
3. MSNBC: 318,000 viewers (down 5 percent); 85,000 adults 25-54 (down 17 percent)
*all ratings live-plus-same day averages for the seven-day week