The Five is the most-watched non-sports cable program of 2022

There’s a new rating champion for cable news.

Nielsen data for 2022 ranks Fox News roundtable show “The Five” as the most-watched show on cable news, averaging 3.5 million viewers.

The number surpasses “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” which averaged 3.3 million viewers for the year. The number for Fox News’ prime-time show is up 3% from 2021, when it was the most-watched show of the year.

But “The Five” continued to grow, up 17% from 2021. The program, which airs live at 5 p.m. Eastern and 2 p.m. Pacific, is also the first off-prime cable news program to close the year at the top.

The only non-sports cable program with a larger audience than The Five is Paramount Network’s hit drama Yellowstone.

“The Five” features conservatives Jesse Watters, Dana Perino, Jeanine Pirro and Greg Gutfeld along with a rotating chair shared by three liberal commentators, Jessica Tarlov, Harold Ford and Geraldo Rivera.

While it’s often a four-to-one bunch, The Five bills itself as the only cable news forum where personalities with opposing views regularly debate issues. Launched in 2011, the program has been successful in attracting viewers who identify politically as democratic or independent.

Cable news audiences have become more tribal in recent years, with conservatives flocking to Fox News while liberals camp out at MSNBC.

CNN has been trying to strike a better balance in booking more Republican officials on its programs, as executives at parent company Warner Bros. Discovery believe the network was pulled too far to the left during Donald Trump’s years in the White House.

Carlson, the most provocative and controversial conservative commentator on Fox News, remains a top attraction for viewers aged 25 to 54, most favored by advertisers who buy newscast commercials. Many of these advertisers avoid the Carlson show because his inflammatory statements about immigration and other issues have led to threats of consumer boycotts.

But Carlson’s popularity, along with the rest of the network, is likely to deter Fox News viewers from breaking the pay-TV chord. Fox News, like CNN and MSNBC, cannot be seen live without a TV subscription and receives more revenue from cable and satellite operators than advertisers.

Overall, Fox News was the most-watched cable news network for the 21st consecutive year, averaging 1.49 million viewers, a 12% increase from 2021. Viewers who took a break from the network in early 2021 after the 2020 presidential election are likely to be affected have come back.

Fox News — which is facing a potentially damaging defamation lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems over false claims made during the station’s coverage of the 2020 presidential election — could weather a similar situation as the network has stumbled year on year over the past two years Months 2022 recorded declines.

Some of his listeners may be depressed by the midterm elections, which saw Republicans fail to win the Senate and narrowly win a majority in the House of Representatives despite predictions of a “red wave.”

The network also experienced a slump after the 2018 midterms, when the Republicans lost the House of Representatives to the Democrats. But Fox News has managed to bounce back from such slumps.

CNN and MSNBC saw significant year-over-year declines in 2022. MSNBC averaged 733,000 viewers, down 19% from 2021. CNN averaged 568,000 viewers, down 27%.

Both networks posted sharp falls in the first half of the year as they suffered from comparisons to the high levels of 2021 caused by coverage of the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol and President Biden’s inauguration.

MSNBC rebounded in the second half of the year, as it became the preferred destination for viewers of the Jan. 6 hearings, beating CNN for the first time with its election coverage. The network grew 6% year over year in the third quarter and 13% in the fourth quarter.

CNN also reversed its year-long decline in the fourth quarter, posting a 9% increase in viewership.

The network lost its most-watched prime-time personality, Chris Cuomo, who was fired in December 2021 for his involvement in advising his brother Andrew, who resigned as governor of New York after being accused of sexual harassment.

CNN has yet to name a permanent host for Cuomo’s early days. Cuomo has since joined Nexstar Media Group’s cable network NewsNation.

During the year, CNN’s prime-time viewership fell 33% to 730,000 viewers. Fox News fell 1% to 2.3 million viewers, while MSNBC’s block fell 21% to 1.2 million viewers. In the 25-54 demographic, Fox News led with 346,000 viewers, down 7%, followed by CNN with 174,000, down 36%, and MSNBC with 133,000, down 39%.

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/business/story/2022-12-19/the-five-topples-tucker-carlson-tonight-to-become-the-new-cable-news-ratings-champ The Five is the most-watched non-sports cable program of 2022

Sarah Ridley

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