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FOX News Sets Record for Election Night Viewership, Plus Weekly Cable News Ratings

Univision won the prime time total viewer battle of the Spanish-language networks over Telemundo from 8-11 p.m. ET, 1.95 million to 1.53 million.

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Coverage of the 2020 U.S. elections on Tuesday, Nov. 3 were approximately down 20 percent down in total viewership from four years ago (-57 million on Nov. 3, 2020 vs. 71.4 million on Nov. 8, 2016). But cable news showed its prominence in the TV landscape, as for the first time ever, each of the three major cable news stations outdrew any broadcast network in prime time election coverage among total viewers. Fox News Channel set a new cable record for election coverage with a prime time average of 14.09 million viewers, beating the previous all-time mark of 13.3 million by CNN in 2016. This year, CNN averaged 9.41 million while MSNBC drew 7.63 million. Mimicking recent debate ratings performances, ABC led the broadcast networks. They averaged 6.29 million, followed by NBC (5.79 million), CBS (4.48 million) and the Fox broadcast network (3 million).

Univision won the prime time total viewer battle of the Spanish-language networks over Telemundo from 8-11 p.m. ET, 1.95 million to 1.53 million.

The still-unconfirmed results of the Biden-Trump presidential race continued to push the three cable news stations way above their usual averages. CNN had its second biggest total-day viewer average in its 40-year history with 4.53 million viewers on Wednesday, Nov. 4 from 3 a.m. to 2:59 a.m. ET (this figure is preliminary since it has yet to factor out-of-home viewing; CNN’s largest-ever day occurred on Election Day of Nov. 8, 2016). From 8-11 p.m. on Nov. 4, CNN (7.38 million) was the most-watched network (in addition to leading the key 25-54 and 18-34 demos) followed by the Fox News Channel (6.51 million). The Fox broadcast network, the usual Wednesday night winner thanks to “The Masked Singer” and “I Can See Your Voice”, remained potent as it averaged 5.49 million, although that ranked third; MSNBC (4.97 million) was a close fourth.

NFL still reigned supreme on Thursday, Nov. 5 as the Fox broadcast network (12.72 million viewers for Packers-49ers from 8-11 p.m. ET) ruled all, but then cable news took the next three ranking spots: CNN as runner-up (6.61 million), Fox News in third (5.72 million), MSNBC fourth (5.07 million).

In the morning, Fox News was still the dominant cable outlet. From 6-9 a.m. ET, “Fox & Friends” averaged 4.64 million viewers on Nov. 4 and 2.49 million on Nov. 5.

As for the other morning cable news offerings:

  • CNN “Election Night in America” (Nov. 4 @ 6-9 a.m. ET): 2.91 million viewers
  • CNN “Election Night in America” (Nov. 5 @ 6-9 a.m. ET): 2.16 million viewers
  • MSNBC “Morning Joe” (Nov. 4 @ 6-9 a.m. ET): 2.40 million viewers
  • MSNBC “Morning Joe” (Nov. 5 @ 6-9 a.m. ET): 1.92 million viewers

From last week, Fox News Channel was tops among the cable networks in both viewers and adults 25-54 yet again; it even showed slight growth in total audience a week after the final Biden-Trump presidential debate. For the week ending Nov. 1, 2020 in total day data (from 6 a.m. to 5:59 a.m. each day), Fox News Channel averaged 2.44 million viewers and 463,000 adults 25-54.

As for the other news networks:

  • MSNBC: 1.39 million viewers, 224,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 1.25 million viewers, 314,000 adults 25-54

Top 10 most-watched cable news programs (and the top MSNBC and CNN programs with associated ranks) in total viewers:

1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 10/27/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 7.562 million viewers

2. Hannity (FOXNC, Mon. 10/26/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 7.304 million viewers

3. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 10/26/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 6.765 million viewers

4. Hannity (FOXNC, Tue. 10/27/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 6.403 million viewers

5. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 10/28/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 6.315 million viewers

6. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 10/29/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 6.129 million viewers

7. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 10/28/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 5.820 million viewers

8. Hannity (FOXNC, Thu. 10/29/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 5.376 million viewers

9. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Fri. 10/30/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 5.310 million viewers

10. Hannity (FOXNC, Fri. 10/30/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 4.988 million viewers

24. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Wed. 10/28/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.823 million viewers

44. Cuomo Prime Time (CNN, Wed. 10/28/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.004 million viewers

Top 10 cable news programs (and the top MSNBC and CNN programs with associated ranks) among adults 25-54:

1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 10/27/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.540 million adults 25-54

2. Hannity (FOXNC, Mon. 10/26/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.403 million adults 25-54

3. Hannity (FOXNC, Tue. 10/27/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.290 million adults 25-54

4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 10/26/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.276 million adults 25-54

5. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 10/28/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.245 million adults 25-54

6. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 10/28/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.212 million adults 25-54

7. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 10/29/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.101 million adults 25-54

8. Hannity (FOXNC, Thu. 10/29/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.978 million adults 25-54

9. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Fri. 10/30/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.975 million adults 25-54

10. The Ingraham Angle (FOXNC, Wed. 10/28/2020 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.945 million adults 25-54

25. Cuomo Prime Time (CNN, Wed. 10/28/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.691 million adults 25-54

30. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Wed. 10/28/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.652 million adults 25-54

News Television

CNN’s Chris Cuomo Accused of Sexual Harassment

“Shelley Ross who worked for ABC News and CBS News alleged Cuomo grabbed her inappropriately at a work party in front of her husband.”

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CNN anchor Chris Cuomo is facing allegations that he sexually harassed a former television producer in a Manhattan bar in 2005.

Shelley Ross who worked for ABC News and CBS News alleged Cuomo grabbed her inappropriately at a work party in front of her husband. Ross made the allegations in New York Times op-ed Friday.

“When Mr. Cuomo entered the Upper West Side bar, he walked toward me and greeted me with a strong bear hug while lowering one hand to firmly grab and squeeze the cheek of my buttock,” she wrote.

Ross served as Cuomo’s executive producer at Primetime Live. The alleged incident occurred while she was serving as the producer of an entertainment special.

 “’I can do this now that you’re no longer my boss,’ he said to me with a kind of cocky arrogance. ‘No you can’t,’ I said, pushing him off me at the chest while stepping back, revealing my husband, who had seen the entire episode at close range. We quickly left.”

Last month, Cuomo’s older brother Andrew, resigned as New York’s Governor following a barrage of sexual misconduct accusations.

Cuomo gave a statement to Ross for her column: “As Shelley acknowledges, our interaction was not sexual in nature. It happened 16 years ago in a public setting when she was a top executive at ABC. I apologized to her then, and I meant it.”

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News Television

“Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” Renewed For a Seventh Season

“Full Frontal” continues to be a solid draw for TBS as its current season averages 2.9 million viewers per episode across all platforms.

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As Jimmy Kimmel ponders his future as a late-night host and James Corden discusses a new contract with CBS, WarnerMedia is locking its late-night host Samantha Bee. 

Deadline reported that the cable network picked up the seventh season of “Full Frontal,” scheduled to air in 2022. 

Furthermore, with “All Elite Wrestling: Dynamite” moving from TNT to TBS in January, the show is transitioning to Thursdays, away from its long-time Wednesday night slot. 

“I’m beyond excited to be returning to TBS for a seventh season,” said Bee. “Now we have enough seasons for you to binge one every day of the week. I warned you I was tenacious.”

“Full Frontal” continues to be a solid draw for TBS as its current season averages 2.9 million viewers per episode across all platforms.

“Shining a spotlight on important issues and people, Sam provides needed commentary and asks questions of authority and ourselves that need to be asked,” TBS, TNT, and TruTV general manager Brett Weitz said. 

“But most of all, Sam is just funny and makes me laugh out loud each week. I’m thrilled she will continue to call TBS home.”

Along with extending the show for its seventh season, TBS renewed a first-look deal with Bee’s production company, Swimsuit Competition, which aims to discover new talent and give support and exposure to their ideas.

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News Television

Meghan Rafferty Named NBC Nightly News’ Executive Producer

Since Suozzo left in August, Rafferty has served as the interim executive producer and her regular duties as the senior broadcast producer of the program.

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“NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” will have a new executive producer as Meghan Rafferty is taking over the position left vacant following the departure of Jenn Suozzo. 

Since Suozzo left in August, Rafferty has served as the interim executive producer and her regular duties as the senior broadcast producer of the program. Still, it seems as though NBC News wants to remove the temporary label and hand the position to Rafferty.

Deadline relayed the memo of the appointment sent to NBC News staffers by NBC News President Noah Oppenheim. 

“Meghan has done a phenomenal job at the helm of the newscast during the last month,” Oppenheim wrote. “She is a respected, trusted, exemplary leader with the keen news instincts and innovative vision that have been a huge part of Nighty’s recent successes and, in this new role, will help propel the broadcast to the next level.”

“As Senior Broadcast Producer, Meghan has stepped up time and time again. She skillfully led the team through the unique challenges we faced during the onset of the pandemic and became a steadfast presence in the control room during those early days of uncertainty.”

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