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MSNBC Tops Fox News in Primetime Ratings After Tucker Carlson Exit

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Fox News continued to see a decline in ratings on Monday after using a new host, coming a week after it was announced Tucker Carlson is departing the network.

In turn, left-leaning outlet MSNBC’s primetime ratings prevailed over Fox News on Monday, May 1, according to Nielsen data. For the evening, Fox News brought in 1.598 million total viewers and 164,000 viewers in the 25–54 age demographic, while MSNC won 1.693 million viewers and 176,000 viewers in the demographic. No. 3 was CNN with 481,000 total viewers and 109,000 25–54 viewers.

In terms of total day viewers, Fox News was still No. 1 in total viewers and demographic viewers, the ratings show.

Last week, Brian Kilmeade filled in during Carlson’s 8 p.m. timeslot for a show dubbed “Fox News Tonight.” This week, Lawrence Jones was tapped to host the program, performing those duties on both Monday and Tuesday nights.

About 2.5 million people watched Kilmeade’s first show on April 24, while the figure ultimately dropped to about 1.3 million on Friday, April 28, according to Nielsen ratings. Jones’ “Fox News Tonight” drew 1.55 million—more than Kilmeade’s Friday show, but not by much.

In the 8 p.m. slot, “Fox News Tonight” performed better than Anderson Cooper’s CNN show, which drew 634,000 viewers, and MSNBC’s “All In,” which drew 1.2 million.

The top cable news performer on Monday night was MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who drew 2.2 million. Fox News’ Sean Hannity also suffered a drop in viewership in the days after Carlson’s departure, again losing viewers on Monday night when about 1.7 million watched his 9 p.m. program, the ratings show.

Carlson had averaged more than 3 million viewers per show during the month of March, according to Nielsen. For all of 2022, his nightly program produced similar numbers on average.

When it announced that Carlson would be leaving the network, Fox News said it would use a rotating cast to host what it described as a temporary program before a new show and host is named. Other details about why Carlson was released or what was discussed were not provided.

Over the past several days, there have been anonymously sourced reports and what appear to be leaked videos of Carlson on the set of his show. In one video that was posted by left-wing activist group Media Matters for America, Carlson directly insulted the group in what appeared to be a joke.

In another, Carlson was seen criticizing the network’s streaming service, Fox Nation, and that “nobody watches Fox Nation because the site sucks” and “doesn’t work.” That clip, released by Media Matters, was reportedly shot in late 2022.

fox news
Traffic on Sixth Avenue passes by advertisements featuring Fox News personalities, at the News Corporation building, in New York City, on March 13, 2019. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“And they’re making Lifetime movies. But they don’t work on the infrastructure of the site. It’s crazy. And it drives me crazy because we’re doing all this extra work and no one can find it. It’s unbelievable, actually. I don’t know who runs that site,” Carlson said to a person off-camera.

“We’re like working like animals to produce all this content, and the people in charge of it, whoever that guy is, whatever his name is, like, they’re ignoring the fact that the site doesn’t work,” he also said. “And I think it’s like a betrayal of our efforts. That’s how I feel. So I, of course, I resent it.”

Former Fox News host Megyn Kelly speculated on her program that some individuals inside Fox News are leaking the videos and are making spurious claims about Carlson. She also alleged that Carlson was not actually fired from the network but is instead not allowed to host his show. Carlson has not responded to those claims, and he only released a video on Twitter that lambasted the state of the U.S. media landscape.

A Fox News spokesperson, when asked about Kelly’s claims, directed The Epoch Times to its initial announcement confirming Carlson’s departure last week.

When asked about Fox News’ ratings drop, a spokesperson told The Epoch Times over the weekend that “Fox News is leading cable news in primetime and today day (Wednesday, April 24) with viewers and A25-54,” referring to the age demographic coveted by advertisers.

“For more than 21 years, Fox News Channel has been cable news’ most-watched network in all categories with more Democrats, Independents and Republicans now tuning in than either CNN or MSNBC,” the company said in a statement about its ratings this week. “Attracting more than 50 percent of the cable news viewing audience with the top 12 programs in cable news, Fox News’ powerhouse team of journalists, analysts and opinion hosts are trusted more by viewers than any other news source.”

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