In a surprising turn, MSNBC has dethroned Fox News from its long-held position of dominance in the cable news ratings. According to Nielsen data, for the first time in over two years, MSNBC has surpassed Fox News in weekly primetime viewership. This shift marks the end of Fox News’s 120-week-long winning streak, a significant milestone in the competitive world of cable news.
The data shows that Fox’s primetime viewership averaged 1,504,429, while MSNBC’s viewership over the same time frame averaged 1,520,857. This narrow margin has been enough to tip the scales in favor of MSNBC, a network that has traditionally been seen as much more left-leaning compared to the conservative Fox News.
The development comes amidst a series of changes and challenges for Fox News. The network has been grappling with declining viewership following the abrupt firing of host Tucker Carlson in late April. Carlson, one of the network’s biggest ratings draws, has left a void in the 8 p.m. ET primetime slot that Fox News has yet to permanently fill. In the interim, a rotating cast of guest hosts has been unable to maintain the same level of viewership, leading to a significant drop in ratings.
New: According to Nielsen data, Fox News averaged 1,504,429 primetime viewers last week, while MSNBC averaged 1,520,857 primetime viewers.
Barring a last-second data reporting change, Fox's 120 week-long winning streak in primetime appears to be over. https://t.co/Q48BSYuFE7
— A.J. Katz (@ajkatztv) June 13, 2023
However, while Fox News may be struggling, former host Tucker Carlson is thriving in his new independent venture. Despite his departure from Fox News, Carlson continues to command a significant audience.
Over the past two weeks, he has released three videos that have collectively garnered over 205.1 million views. His content, which includes commentary on the indictment of former President Donald Trump and critiques of the Washington establishment, continues to resonate with a large audience. Carlson has released three episodes on Twitter thus far, with his latest coming on Tuesday.
The shift in cable news ratings comes amidst a news cycle that has been more favorable to MSNBC. The network tends to see an increase in viewership during periods of political turmoil for Trump, a trend that has been evident in recent weeks. However, the landscape of cable news is constantly changing, and it remains to be seen whether MSNBC will be able to maintain its newfound lead.
The decline in Fox News’s ratings could have significant implications for the network. It could impact its ability to negotiate higher fees from cable providers, a goal that the network had been hoping to achieve. It could also influence the network’s standing amongst advertisers, who often base their decisions on viewership data.
Whether Fox News can regain its former dominance, or whether MSNBC can consolidate its lead, will be a story to watch in the coming months. Meanwhile, the success of independent voices like Tucker Carlson suggests that there is a growing appetite for alternative perspectives in the world of news and politics.