Fox News Finds out Just How Bad Things Can Get as Ratings Fall Over the Cliff

AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File

It’s fair to say that things have not been going well for Fox News since they “parted ways” with Tucker Carlson.

Carlson was the underpinning of the evening programming, their most popular host. His doing well helped all the other shows in the evening.


The anger of many of the viewers at the move is palpable and Fox has been feeling it in the ratings. We’ve reported before how bad it is and that actions have consequences. Megyn Kelly laid out part of the problem. But it’s only getting worse. It’s not only affecting Tucker’s former timeslot but it’s also affecting their other primetime shows and their ratings.

In the time since they parted ways, ratings in primetime among key demographics of cable television viewers have cratered badly declined with Carlson’s former show spot ratings dropping by around 50 percent. The network’s audience among 25- to 54-year-olds had shrunk by two-thirds.

According to viewing figures produced by Adweek, a trade publication, for the evening of May 5, Carlson’s former 8 p.m. ET slot attracted an audience of 90,000, while at the same time MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes was seen by 145,000, among viewers aged 25-54.

In the other primetime slots at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. on May 5, Fox News’ offering was outpaced in viewership among the key demographic by MSNBC by 44,000 and 31,000 respectively.

By comparison, Carlson’s final show on Friday, April 21 attracted more than 2.6 million viewers—270,000 in the 25-54 age bracket—while nearly 1.4 million watched the same slot on MSNBC. His departure was only publicly announced the following Monday.

According to Fortune magazine, his 8 p.m. ET slot averaged just over 3 million viewers across 2022, and was the second most popular program on cable TV.


What is that looking like? It’s looking bad.

“Fox News is bleeding viewers so badly right now that both MSNBC (Chris Hayes) and CNN (Anderson Cooper) had more in-demo viewers during the 8 pm time slot on Friday,” Sean Davis of The Federalist observed.

How bad? Very bad. The CNN morning show reportedly beat out the Tucker slot in the 25-54 demographic on Friday.

Now, it should be noted that Fox is still ahead in total audience.

A Fox News spokesperson, Jessica Ketner, told Newsweek the channel “continues as the highest-rated cable news network in primetime and total day. The network also continues to be the most-watched cable news channel at 8 p.m. ET with Fox News Tonight.”

Ketner said that in primetime, between April 24 and May 5, Fox News averaged 1.7 million viewers and 153,000 among those aged 25-54, “beating CNN and MSNBC across the board. The network also outpaces them in the younger 18-49 demographic.” She said Carlson’s former slot was averaging 1.6 million viewers and 152,000 among 18-54s, “outpacing the competition in the hour.”


But it’s hard not to see what a catastrophic hit they have taken by cutting Tucker and how it’s affecting multiple shows. Just like with Bud Light, they’ve made a decision that it’s hard to come back from for a lot of their viewers. And if they don’t resolve the issues with Carlson, that anger from the viewers is likely to continue to fester.

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