OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Fox News cable news ratings have collapsed after the network took top-rated host Tucker Carlson off the air. Things have gotten so bad at the network that longtime host Sean Hannity is struggling to win his own timeslot on most nights.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow beat Hannity in the 8 PM ET time slot, bringing in 2.40 million total viewers compared to his 1.95 million.
Hannity’s primetime show has been feeling the heat since Carlson was abruptly ousted.
Hannity’s show, which got up to nearly 2 million in the final weeks of June, has fallen to around a 1.7 million average in July and August — and September is not looking much better. For comparison, Hannity’s primetime show averaged around 3 million each night before Carlson’s departure.
“After low audience level weeks influenced by the Independence Day holiday, MSNBC and Fox News rebounded a bit. FNC averaged more than 1.47 million primetime viewers for the week of July 10, per live plus same-day data from Nielsen. That’s +21% from the week prior (July 3, 2023). The network also averaged 130,000 A25-54 viewers in primetime, +26% from the week prior. In addition to its No. 1 finish in total viewers, Fox News took the No. 15 spot in the primetime demo this past week, up one spot from the week before,” AdWeek reported.
The outlet added:
In terms of total day viewing, FNC averaged 1.08 million total viewers, No. 1 for the 28th consecutive week, and +11% from the week prior. Additionally, Fox News finished No. 2 among Adults 25-54 in total days (120,000), which is +10% from the week prior.
MSNBC took the No. 3 spot in total primetime viewers this past week (on par with the week before), averaging a total of 1.17 million total viewers in the daypart. That happens to be +37% from its low-rated July 4 holiday week. In addition, MSNBC averaged 105,000 A25-54 viewers in primetime, which is +28% from the previous week and tied with Nick-at-Nite for No. 23 on basic cable.
In total day, NBCU’s politics-focused cable channel averaged 730,000 total viewers, +22% from the prior week and No. 2 among all basic cable networks (behind only Fox News). Additionally, MSNBC averaged only 72,000 A25-54, tied for No. 17 among all cable networks with CNN and +16% from the previous week.
After dominating cable news ratings for years, Fox News was knocked from its top perch by left-wing rival MSNBC in key time slots.
“Nielsen data regarding the week ending this past Sunday was shared on Twitter on Tuesday by A.J. Katz, a reporter specializing in the cable news business. According to the data, Fox’s primetime 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET viewership averaged 1,504,429. The average viewership for the more left-leaning MSNBC over the same time frame averaged 1,520,857, narrowly beating out the conservative network that has long been a leader in cable news viewership,” Newsweek reported.
Fox News has maintained an impressive streak of 120 weeks as the leader in average weekly primetime viewership, falling just short of two years and four months.
The last time the network did not secure the top spot in weekly viewership was in mid-February 2021.
Fox News announced its brand new prime-time lineup and revealed who will be taking over Tucker Carlson’s old time slot.
In a press release, the network revealed that Jesse Watters will take the 8 p.m. slot, directly replacing Carlson. Laura Ingraham will move from 10 p.m. to 7 p.m., Sean Hannity will stay at 9 p.m. and Greg Gutfeld will move to 10 p.m. Longtime news anchor Trace Gallagher will move up to 11 p.m.
“A rotating cast of hosts stepped in to replace Carlson after he was abruptly fired from Fox News one week after it reached a $787.5 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems over the airing of 2020 election lies. The ratings dipped significantly from the Carlson era, who in his seven years helming Tucker Carlson Tonight emerged as a controversial but popular host at the network,” Mediaite reported.
Since being taken off the air, Carlson has begun posting short monologues to Twitter, which Fox says is a violation of his contract.
The network has sent him a cease-and-desist letter, though so far, he has refused to do so, arguing that Fox violates their contract with him.