Fox News has seen its primetime ratings decline year-over-year in May since Tucker Carlson’s sudden departure about six weeks ago, according to an analysis.
Nielsen ratings show that the network has seen a 37-percent year-over-year decline to 1.42 million during the primetime hours of 8 p.m. and 11 p.m., according to reports from Mediaite and Deadline Hollywood. Left-wing competitor MSNBC saw its ratings increase to 1.16 million primetime viewers, or a 14-percent gain year-over-year, in May.
The clear No. 3 was CNN, which saw its primetime ratings shrink to 494,000 viewers last month. According to the reports, it represents a 25-percent year-over-year decline, compared with May 2022.
Fox, meanwhile, averaged some 135,000 viewers in the coveted 25–54 age demographic that advertisers often target during the primetime hours, the analysis shows. That’s a 62-percent year-over-year decline. MSNBC had 120,000 demographic viewers, or a 14 percent increase year-over-year, while CNN saw a 25 percent drop to 113,000 viewers in that demographic.
In comparison, Fox News averaged some 2.09 million primetime viewers in the first quarter of 2023. That was likely due to Carlson’s influence, as the former host would routinely draw more than 3 million viewers during his 8 p.m. ET show.
Since Carlson’s departure, Fox News spokespeople have told The Epoch Times that Fox is still the No. 1 overall rated cable news channel.
Fox News’ “The Five” is still the No. 1 cable news TV show, with 2.6 million average total viewers and 267,000 viewers in the demographic on average. Fox News host Jesse Watters also averaged more than 2 million viewers per episode, the ratings show.
Since Carlson’s departure in late April, the channel has rotated several of its top hosts during the 8 p.m. timeslot. Reports have indicated that the replacement show, “Fox News Tonight,” will be hosted by anchor Harris Faulkner next week.
A recent report suggested Fox News is plotting to move host Sean Hannity to the 8 p.m. slot, but a Fox News spokesperson told The Epoch Times last month that there hasn’t been a decision.
“No decision has been made on a new primetime line-up and there are multiple scenarios under consideration,” a spokesperson for the network said at the time.
The network has also been forced to deal with criticism from former President Donald Trump, who was publicly critical of Fox News’ decision to part ways with Carlson. Late last week, Trump said that Fox should pivot to get better ratings.
“FOX should embrace MAGA,” Trump wrote on a Truth Social on June 2, adding that the network is suffering “because the very smart, even brilliant, Magadonians know that, despite all the fake lip service, FoxNews is pushing Ron DeSanctus, or anyone else for that matter, because they hate the greatest ‘America first’ president to ever put on a suit and tie, me.” He was referring to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“They are all globalists, and globalists will never, Make America Great Again!” the former president added of Fox News’ management.
His campaign also said that his town hall event with Hannity last Thursday performed better than DeSantis’s interview with host Trey Gowdy last month. “President Trump’s town hall on Fox had 2.7 million viewers,” it said.
Last week, Trump targeted Fox News again when he made a critical comment about his former press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, and asserted that she is trying to promote DeSantis over him. That drew criticism from DeSantis and other conservatives on social media.
“Even his greatest supporters have acknowledged” that Trump “had a tough time picking good people,” the Florida governor said several days ago. “He had a lot of terrible personnel decisions, people like Jerome Adams, his Surgeon General … so we know there was a tough record, but Kayleigh was one of the greatest selections. She did a fantastic job,” DeSantis said during the NH Journal podcast.
But Trump has also repeatedly highlighted interview segments on Fox News via his Truth Social account.
Host Will Cain said last week that he doesn’t “see a path for any of the alternative candidates to Donald Trump, and that includes Ron DeSantis,” according to a clip posted online that Trump highlighted. “There’s some sentiment I imagine around Ron DeSantis that we’ve been successful in Florida and now is our time. But the public doesn’t seem to be buying it, Sean,” Cain continued.
“We’ve seen Donald Trump in debates. He wins debates,” he remarked, adding that candidates including former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Vice President Mike Pence essentially have no shot at winning the GOP primary. “They’re waiting for some bomb to explode and then one of the others emerge from the chaos,” he added.
In response, Trump wrote: “Thank you, Will Cain!”