CNN Dominates January Cable News Ratings With Its Most-Watched Month Ever

Coverage of the Capitol riots, the second Trump impeachment and the Biden inauguration gave the network a clean sweep

Don Lemon Chris Cuomo

CNN had its most-watched month ever in January and was the top cable news network across the board as a result, according to Nielsen Media Research ratings.

In a month defined by the Capitol riots that left multiple people dead, the second impeachment of outgoing President Donald Trump and the inauguration of President Joe Biden, CNN averaged 1.907 million total viewers in total-day ratings, of whom 531,000 were in the advertiser-coveted age demographic of 25 to 54.

MSNBC brought in 1.662 million, on average, with 298,000 in the demo, while Fox News saw an average of 1.374 million and 245,000 in the demo.

In January, CNN was the top cable news network in total-day ratings, as well as weekday primetime and dayside ratings, in both total viewers and the key demo. In all of cable, CNN was in the top spot for total-day and daytime in total viewers and the demo, as well as in primetime from Monday to Sunday in total viewers.

Over on MSNBC, “The Rachel Maddow Show” was the highest-rated regularly scheduled program in all of cable in total viewers, bringing 4.3 million viewers to the 9 p.m. ET time slot, of whom 804,000 were in the key demo.

January ratings mean yearlong ratings, too.

Fox News marked its 19th straight year as the top cable news network overall in total-day and primetime ratings.

Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott said in a Tuesday statement, “We are extremely proud that viewers have consistently tuned in to our slate of original programming for nearly two decades, choosing Fox News as their go-to destination for not only breaking news coverage, but insightful analysis from a diversity of viewpoints.”

The race is on in primetime now, with post-inauguration ratings in flux already: During the first week of Biden’s administration, Fox News’ primetime took in 2.664 million total viewers, on average, with 425,000 in the demo. CNN was behind in total average primetime viewers for the week with 1.884 million, but won in the demo with 509,000. MSNBC was in second place for total average viewers — 2.489 million — but last place in the demo, bringing in an average of 380,000.


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