Fueled by a hotly contested presidential election, Fox News became the first cable news network in history to surpass 3 million primetime viewers.
Fox’s primetime viewership (8 p.m.-11 p.m. ET) averaged 3.61 million, a 45% increase from 2019 and 645,000 in the advertiser-coveted 25-54 demo, which was a 65% increase.
MSNBC trailed with 2.14 million (360,000 demo) and 1.79 total viewers (521,000 demo). Both Fox News’ and MSNBC’s (+24%) increase in viewership were exceeded by CNN’s 85% increase which underscored just how few people were watching CNN in 2019.
In total day, Fox News dominated as well with 1.89 million viewers (350,000 in the demo) compared to MSNBC’s 1.24 million (202,000 demo), and CNN’s 1.13 million (312,00 demo).
Two programs, Hannity (4.4 million) and Tucker Carlson Tonight (4.37 million) set a record by becoming the first programs to finish the year, averaging more than 4 million viewers. Carlson also averaged a whopping 798,000 in the demo, far outdistancing his competition.
Other highlights for Fox included The Five, which airs at 5 p.m. and averages 3.6 million viewers, and The Ingraham Angle with Laura Ingraham, which finished the year as the most-watched female cable news host.
“This ratings milestone is a testament to the incredible work of the Fox News Channel team during a pivotal year,” Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott said. “We are immensely proud and honored to once again serve as the destination for news and opinion in America.”
It will hard for any of the cable news networks to top 2020, but Fox heads into 2021 with a strong lineup and distinct advantage over its competition.