The inglorious descent by Fox News in the cable ratings battle has reached new lows, according to the latest numbers, with the former heavyweight now falling behind the liberal MSNBC in a situation that was once unimaginable.
An analysis by American Tribune of recent ratings shows MSNBC beating Fox News Channel in the primetime slots on August 14th and 15th. While the liberal network benefited from a raft of coverage about former President Donald Trump’s various criminal indictments, the idea that its viewership could surpass that of Fox has never before been realized.
Before firing Tucker Carlson earlier this year, Fox had been on an unprecedented 20-year streak at the top of the cable news ratings thanks in large part to the legacy of work between founder Roger Ailes and its owner Rupert Murdoch. The rise of Fox, beginning during the Clinton administration, prefaced the proliferation of opinionated content that dominates today’s news media landscape.
While MSNBC typically battles CNN for second place in the ratings, June marked the watershed moment in its success against Fox. The network outpaced Fox for an entire week that month, averaging 1.37 million viewers to Fox’s 1.31 million. Fox’s fall was preceded by a total collapse in its streaming service subscriptions earlier that month.
At his height, Carlson’s 8:00 PM show on Fox drew over three million nightly viewers, far outpacing his colleagues including Jesse Waters who took the slot and now averages only 2.59 million viewers. Carlson’s departure was orchestrated in coordination with Dominion Voting Systems which demanded Fox sack their ratings juggernaut in addition to paying the company a record $787 million settlement to dismiss claims that Carlson and other on-air talent parroted lies about the company’s technology in the wake of the 2020 election.
Another nail in Fox’s coffin will be Wednesday night’s interview between Carlson and President Trump who is forgoing the GOP debate on Fox News in favor of a competing sit-down interview on Carlson’s X channel. The appearance will test Carlson’s ability to draw viewers away from cable news and to a social media network whose owner Elon Musk has appealed to content creators like Carlson. President Trump, on his own social media network Truth Social, sent his followers a tantalizing message about tonight’s anti-Fox appearance: “SPARKS WILL FLY.”