2016 was a wild year for cable news networks, so where did viewers go when they wanted coverage of everything from celebrity deaths to the presidential election? Find out here with the Top 23 shows ranked by rating.
23. “CNN Tonight with Don Lemon”
Lemon’s primetime show averaged 924,000 viewers and is a unique combination of straight newscast and opinion programming. CNN essentially allows Lemon to do what he thinks will benefit viewers on a nightly basis, which was evident when he recently choked up remembering news legend Gwen Ifill.
Cooper had CNN’s most-watched program of 2016, with 1.14 million viewers. While Cooper is a household name and widely recognized, many will find it odd that he finished behind so many cable news competitors.
The Fox News morning show hosted Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade and Ainsley Earhardt averaged 1.27 million viewers. By comparison, cable news rivals “New Day” averaged 508,000 and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” averaged 677,000.
This one is complicated, as “Real Story with Gretchen Carlson” occupied this spot until she filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, who eventually stepped down in disgrace. Carlson’s old show combined with a variety of replacements averaged 1.35 million viewers.
Bill O’Reilly is so popular that the late-night repeat of his primetime show averaged more viewers than most competitors pick up on a good night, with 1.39 million viewers tuning into the second run of “Factor.”