Published: Sun, May 28, 2017
Business | By Pat Ferguson

Fox tops ratings for Manchester attack coverage

Fox tops ratings for Manchester attack coverage

In a development that has sparked murmurs throughout the cable news business, Fox News in recent weeks has regularly finished in last place among advertising-friendly viewers between the ages of 25 and 54, or "demo" viewers, as they're known in the industry. It was a week filled with late-breaking news unflattering to President Donald Trump, who much of the network's audience supports. Fox drew 2.4 million and CNN was a non-factor with 1.6 million. ESPN's coverage of the Golden State/San Antonio NBA series gave it the fourth and fifth best-rated programs of the week, with coverage of the NBA Draft Lottery coming in eighth.

MSNBC finally overtook Fox News Channel in ratings after more than 15 years in the right-leaning news channel's shadow.

When the Fox News Channel fired cable news giant Bill O'Reilly in April, reports surfaced revealing Fox News' owner, the Murdoch family, wanting to move the network in a different direction. Fox News viewers may still be expecting more substance in prime time.

Yashar Ali reported on assignment for the HuffPost that it appeared the network was not going to renew O'Donnell's contract, despite his success in the hour following "The Rachel Maddow Show".

Perhaps the network's loyal viewers are becoming more aware of its extreme bias and that they need to look elsewhere for certain stories, or perhaps the departure of Bill O'Reilly has hurt it - but either way its ratings are falling.

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MSNBC captured top ratings in the key 25-54 demographic and in total viewers last week, the first time it's done so since its launch 21 years ago, Nielsen ratings show. If that's the case, then a smoother week might produce a return to previous form, and the normal Fox domination of prime time in both the overall and the key demo.

For the month of May through the 21st, Fox News continues to lead in the advertiser demo as well as in terms of overall viewers. The attack outside of an Ariana Grande concert, where 22 people were killed, dominated cable news coverage across all three major channels.

CNN has ranked #1 in cable news in Total Day among adults 25-54 for six straight days, through Friday - its longest winning streak in that ratings race in six years.

It was uniquely bad timing for Fox. MSNBC's primetime schedule, led by 9 p.m. host Rachel Maddow, handily won last week.

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