CNN brushed aside and even ridiculed viewers who complained about the May 10 town hall with Donald Trump. But it turns out that viewers aren’t standing with the network even if it stubbornly stands by the event.
Scored a rare nighttime victory, CNN saw 3.3 million viewers tuning in to see Trump, solidifying its position as the highest-rated cable news network for the evening. Two days later, however, primetime ratings plummeted, relegating CNN to fourth place, behind the right-wing network with the smallest budget, Newsmax.
Nielsen live + same-day data shows that CNN only averaged 335,000 viewers during Friday night prime time. Compared to Newsmax’s average of 357,000 viewers, that figure pales. While MSNBC averaged 1.1 million viewers during primetime, Fox News Channel averaged 1.4 million.
However, CNN had an advantage over Newsmax in the crucial cable news demographic among adults 25-54, attracting 87,000 viewers compared to Newsmax’s 45,000. CNN’s 97,000 demo viewers were almost as high as MSNBC’s 98,000, while Fox News’ 109,000 demo viewers were far and away the most of any cable news station.
This trend persisted throughout the hourly programming on the cable news channel, with Newsmax consistently drawing more viewers than CNN.
At 9 p.m., the most significant disparity was between CNN’s “The Whole Story With Anderson Cooper” and Newsmax’s “Chris Plante The Right Squad,” which attracted 325,000 total viewers compared to 293,000 for CNN’s program.
On Friday, the average viewers for CNN’s 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. prime time slot fell to 335,000 from the previous week, behind the 357,000 who tuned in to the right-leaning Newsmax.
The network, struggling with ratings, finished fourth in prime time, behind Fox News (1.44 million) and MSNBC (1.08 million).
From the previous four Fridays, CNN averaged 87,000 viewers, an increase in the essential 25-54 age category. With 109,000 viewers in the demo, Fox was well ahead of MSNBC’s 98,000. Meanwhile, Newsmax pulled in an average of 45,000 adults 18–49 during prime time.
On Friday nights after 8:00 p.m., Newsmax outrated CNN and attracted more viewers.