Trump TV: Cable News Notches Historic Ratings

Fox News finished the first quarter of 2017 with record-shattering cable news ratings and an average viewership of 1.7 million per day and 2.8 million during primetime, according to data from Nielsen Media Research.

The first three months of President Donald Trump’s administration have generated massive attention across the cable news landscape. According to its own statement, Fox News set a record for the most cable news viewers in a single quarter in television history.

“Three years ago, people were suggesting that cable news was on its last legs … Now there is nothing more relevant in the landscape than these cable news networks.”

“Continuing its record-breaking ratings streak, FOX News Channel (FNC) finished the first quarter of 2017 with the highest-rated quarter ever in cable news history in 24-hour viewership, and once again topped cable in both primetime and total day, according to Nielsen Media Research,” the Fox News statement read.

During the 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. program lineup, Fox News saw the millennial age bracket tuning in “more than any other cable news outlet,” as a record number of total viewers turned on the channel, Fox News noted.

Roughly 1.7 million viewers turned to Fox News for the first quarter of 2017, up 27 percent from the first quarter of 2016, while 2.8 million tuned in during primetime, an increase of 20 percent.

In addition, “The O’Reilly Factor” enjoyed “its highest-rated quarter ever in history,” breaking “all previous records in cable news history for the highest-viewership ever for any given program in a quarter.” Of the top 15 cable news programs across the major networks, Fox News snatched 13 of them and claimed eight out of the top 10. Of the top five, Fox snatched all of them with “The O’Reilly Factor,” “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” “The Five,” “Special Report with Bret Baier” and “Hannity.”

But both MSNBC and CNN shattered ratings records of their own. MSNBC, in particular, surpassed Fox News in terms of percentage growth of viewership, with a 51 percent boost in daytime viewers and 58 percent of primetime viewers, while still trailing Fox News in total viewership. Although CNN suffered a 17 percent decrease in primetime viewers, the network’s total daytime ratings rose 11 percent.

In particular, MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” reached the top 10 most viewed cable news shows. “The Rachel Maddow Show” even breached 4.13 million viewers when Maddow released portions of Trump’s 2005 tax returns and garnered 3.1 million viewers following the collapse of the House GOP leadership’s American Health Care Act.

As Forbes noted in an article published Tuesday, "Out of fear, curiosity or jubilation, Americans are anxiously keeping tabs on their new president."

Sure enough, even as Fox News dominated cable news viewership during the first few months of 2017, other major competitors also enjoyed skyrocketing ratings.

"2016 was the biggest year in the history of cable news, and 2017 will perhaps be even bigger," CNN President Jeff Zucker told The Los Angeles Times. "Three years ago, people were suggesting that cable news was on its last legs … Now there is nothing more relevant in the landscape than these cable news networks."

Last Modified: March 29, 2017, 6:27 am

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