CNN Tops Cable News in Key Demo for Total Day and Primetime for First Time in 19 Years

The network took the top spots in the advertiser-coveted demographic of adults 25 to 54 for the sixth day in a row, according to Nielsen ratings


As protests in the wake of the killing of George Floyd continued through the week, CNN hit a major ratings milestone: On Wednesday, the network notched its sixth day in a row in the top spot among the cable news channels for total day and primetime viewers in the advertiser-coveted age demographic of 25 to 54.

This is the first time CNN has topped those viewership groups in 19 years.

According to Nielsen ratings, from Friday, May 29 to Wednesday, June 3, CNN beat Fox News and MSNBC in the demo in total day ratings, measuring from 6 a.m. ET to 6 a.m. ET. Due to data availability, Wednesday’s numbers were measured from 6 a.m. ET to 3 a.m. ET.

Friday, brought in 668,000 average total-day demo viewers compared to Fox News’ 460,000 and MSNBC 253,000. Saturday, CNN had 763,000 average demo viewers while Fox News saw 559,000 and MSNBC saw 243,000. Sunday brought CNN 680,000 average viewers from 25 to 54, while Fox News got 503,000, and MSNBC got 267,000. Monday, CNN had 712,000 total-day demo viewers on average while Fox News grabbed 612,000 and MSNBC had 316,000. Tuesday, the total for CNN’s key demo viewers was 596,000 while for Fox News it was 507,000 and MSNBC it was 301,000. Finally, on Wednesday, CNN’s average total-day viewership count in that all-important demo stood at 614,000, up from Tuesday’s total. Fox News and MSNBC also saw increases over Tuesday with 508,000 and 304,000 average viewers, respectively.

Average primetime viewership numbers told the same story.

Friday, from 8 p.m. ET to 11 p.m. ET, CNN took in 1,270,000 average viewers from 25 to 54 while Fox News nabbed 777,000 and MSNBC got 386,000. Saturday, CNN saw 1,245,000 primetime demo viewers on average, compared to Fox News’ 876,000 and MSNBC’s 390,000. Sunday, CNN had 1,273,000 average viewers in the demo in the time period, Fox News had 784,000, and MSNBC had 475,000.

Monday, CNN hit its primetime demo high for the week, as did the other two cable news channels. CNN reported 1,560,000 average viewers from 25 to 54 in primetime that evening while Fox News got 1,346,000 and MSNBC got 616,000. All three saw a dip Tuesday, with CNN pulling in 1,148,000 demo viewers, Fox News getting 1,048,000 and MSNBC getting 603,000. Wednesday, the primetime demo viewership fell for all three again, though CNN remained in first place with 1,043,000 average viewers. Fox News had 950,000 and MSNBC had 473,000.

The last time this happened for CNN was October 2001, during the post-9/11 news cycle.