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UPCOMING EVENTS

Fox News Leads Coverage of Hunter Biden Saga

Whenever a vital news story about Donald Trump breaks, such as his recent indictments and arraignments, the news stations almost always receive a sudden ratings bounce as a result. But what about a news event concerning the President’s son Hunter Biden — a frequent talking point on conservative media? How would such an occurrence affect viewership on all the cable news networks, especially Fox News?

That was tested on the afternoon of Friday, Aug. 11 when Attorney General Merrick Garland granted special counsel status to David Weiss, the Trump-appointed prosecution investigating Hunter Biden on tax and gun charges. Plea talks between the Justice Department and the president’s son had just fallen apart.

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Garland’s announcement came within the noon-1 p.m. ET hour on Aug. 11. As expected, Fox News Channel led the hour with 1.4 million viewers including 154,000 within the key 25-54 demographic, according to Nielsen Media Research. MSNBC (915,000 viewers / 106,000 adults 25-54) and CNN (729,000 viewers / 117,000 adults 25-54) trailed behind.

In a more comprehensive context, here are the hour-to-hour retention rates to see what percentage changes had occurred on Aug. 11:

Fox News Channel 

  • 11 a.m.-noon: 1.191 million viewers; 127,000 adults 25-54
  • noon-1 p.m.: 1.404 million viewers (+18 percent from previous hour); 154,000 adults 25-54 (+21 percent from previous hour)
  • 1-2 p.m.: 1.348 million viewers (-4 percent from previous hour); 140,000 adults 25-54 (-9  percent from previous hour)

MSNBC 

  • 11 a.m.-noon: 0.825 million viewers; 117,000 adults 25-54
  • noon-1 p.m.: 0.915 million viewers (+11 percent from previous hour); 106,000 adults 25-54 (-9 percent from previous hour)
  • 1-2 p.m.: 0.838 million viewers (-8 percent from previous hour); 85,000 adults 25-54 (-20  percent from previous hour)

CNN 

  • 11 a.m.-noon: 0.715 million viewers; 143,000 adults 25-54
  • noon-1 p.m.: 0.729 million viewers (+2 percent from previous hour); 117,000 adults 25-54 (-18 percent from previous hour)
  • 1-2 p.m.: 0.676 million viewers (-7 percent from previous hour); 107,000 adults 25-54 (-8  percent from previous hour)

The uptick on FNC was most pronounced for both total viewers and the key 25-54 demographic. MSNBC also grew by double-digits in viewers but fell slightly in demo.

But did that breaking news actually provide these increases? Let’s take a look at the same hours on the previous Friday (Aug. 4):

Fox News Channel 

  • 11 a.m.-noon: 1.363 million viewers; 148,000 adults 25-54
  • noon-1 p.m.: 1.420 million viewers (+3 percent from previous hour); 156,000 adults 25-54 (+5 percent from previous hour)
  • 1-2 p.m.: 1.234 million viewers (-13 percent from previous hour); 129,000 adults 25-54 (-17  percent from previous hour)

MSNBC 

  • 11 a.m.-noon: 0.709 million viewers; 97,000 adults 25-54
  • noon-1 p.m.: 0.763 million viewers (+8 percent from previous hour); 78,000 adults 25-54 (-20 percent from previous hour)
  • 1-2 p.m.: 0.801 million viewers  (+5 percent from previous hour); 96,000 adults 25-54 (+23  percent from previous hour)

CNN 

  • 11 a.m.-noon: 0.653 million viewers; 140,000 adults 25-54
  • noon-1 p.m.: 0.714 million viewers (+9 percent from previous hour); 133,000 adults 25-54 (-5 percent from previous hour)
  • 1-2 p.m.: 0.648 million viewers (-9 percent from previous hour); 103,000 adults 25-54 (-23  percent from previous hour)

As noted, the raw figures look similar to Aug. 11. In fact, FNC posted slightly more viewers in that noon hour on Aug. 4, when there was no immediate breaking news. That particular Aug. 4 date was no slouch for content either, though — it was the day following Trump’s third arraignment.

Cable news averages for August 7-13, 2023:

Total Day (Aug. 7-13 @ 6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 1.139 million viewers; 128,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 0.887 million viewers; 97,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.487 million viewers; 98,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.165 million viewers; 14,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.147 million viewers; 40,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.126 million viewers; 18,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.121 million viewers; 26,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.088 million viewers; 19,000 adults 25-54
  • NewsNation: 0.052 million viewers; 10,000 adults 25-54

Prime Time (Aug. 6-12 @ 8-11 p.m.; Aug. 13 @ 7-11 p.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 1.799 million viewers; 184,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 1.453 million viewers; 143,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.583 million viewers; 127,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.263 million viewers; 27,000 adults 25-54
  • NewsNation: 0.086 million viewers; 14,000 adults 25-54

Top 10 most-watched cable news programs (and the top programs of other outlets with their respective associated ranks) in total viewers:

1. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 8/8/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.897 million viewers

2. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 8/10/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.820 million viewers

3. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 8/9/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.762 million viewers

4. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 8/7/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.755 million viewers

5. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 8/7/2023 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.749 million viewers

6. The Five (FOXNC, Fri. 8/11/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.620 million viewers

7. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Tue. 8/8/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.527 million viewers

8. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Mon. 8/7/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.450 million viewers

9. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Thu. 8/10/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.429 million viewers

10. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Wed. 8/9/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.325 million viewers

156. Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN, Mon. 8/7/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.890 million viewers

414. Forensic Files (HLN, late Sun. 8/13/2023 12:30 AM, 30 min.) 0.304 million viewers

422. Kudlow (FBN, Thu. 8/10/2023 4:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.291 million viewers

438. The Exchange (CNBC, Mon. 8/7/2023 1:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.274 million viewers

502. Deep Water Salvage “(307) Clean Up Kings” (TWC, Sun. 8/13/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.229 million viewers

712. Cuomo (NWSN, Wed. 8/9/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.142 million viewers

Top 10 cable news programs (and the top  programs of other outlets with their respective associated ranks) among adults 25-54:

1. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 8/10/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.328 million adults 25-54

2. Gutfeld! (FOXNC, Mon. 8/7/2023 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.306 million adults 25-54

3. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 8/8/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.305 million adults 25-54

4. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 8/7/2023 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.288 million adults 25-54

5. Gutfeld! (FOXNC, Tue. 8/8/2023 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.276 million adults 25-54

6. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 8/9/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.269 million adults 25-54

7. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 8/7/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.264 million adults 25-54

8. Gutfeld! (FOXNC, Wed. 8/9/2023 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.248 million adults 25-54

9. Hannity (FOXNC, Thu. 8/10/2023 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.244 million adults 25-54

10. Gutfeld! (FOXNC, Thu. 8/10/2023 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.241 million adults 25-54

22. Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN, Tue. 8/8/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.201 million adults 25-54

222. Forensic Files (HLN, late Wed. 8/9/2023 12:30 AM, 30 min.) 0.105 million adults 25-54

374. The Exchange (CNBC, Mon. 8/7/2023 1:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.071 million adults 25-54

389. America’s Morning Headquarters (TWC, Fri. 8/11/2023 8:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.066 million adults 25-54

636. Kudlow (FBN, Thu. 8/10/2023 4:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.038 million adults 25-54

704. Cuomo (NWSN, Tue. 8/8/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.031 million adults 25-54

Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research

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