The topsy-turvy world of cable news ratings continues following Fox News Channel’s decision to cancel Tucker Carlson’s popular prime-time program last month.
Although the network has consistently outperformed rivals MSNBC and CNN for years, viewers responded to Carlson’s ouster by tuning out — and the results were immediately evident.
MSNBC scored a prime-time ratings win earlier this month within the coveted 25-54 age demographic.
Even CNN, which has consistently been in third place overall, found a way to boost its viewership on Wednesday evening by hosting a town hall event with 2024 GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Adding insult to injury, the top-rated broadcast started at 8 p.m. — the same time slot that Carlson previously occupied. Well over 3 million people tuned in to CNN to watch the event, including more than 700,000 in the aforementioned demographic.
On a typical night, CNN attracts only about 500,000 viewers in total during the same hour of broadcasting.
The Trump town hall drew more viewers than Fox News and MSNBC combined, which attracted roughly 1.4 million viewers each. Making matters worse for Fox News, MSNBC led in the 25-54 demo roughly 155,000 to 125,000.
Despite the huge draw that the town hall proved to be for CNN, prominent leftists denounced the decision to provide Trump with a platform — and one of the network’s own anchors announced on the air that he sympathized with upset viewers.
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Far-left pundit Keith Olbermann, a one-time MSNBC host, insisted: “CNN gave its credibility to Trump’s madness” and the network “must fire CEO Chris Licht.”
For his part, Licht defended the decision to air the Trump town hall in an editorial call with staffers the following day.
He asserted that “America was served very well” by the event, claiming that after it was over “people woke up and they know what the stakes are in this election in a way that they didn’t the day before.”
He went on to say that it was CNN’s responsibility “to get those answers and to hold him accountable in a way that no news organization has done in years, and while we all may have been uncomfortable, hearing people clapping, that was also an important part of the story, because the people in that audience represent a large swath of America.”