CNN Press Room

2017 Is CNN’s Most Watched Year Ever


CNN Programs Smash Ratings Records; All Prime Time Shows Up Double Digits

CNN is #7 In All of Cable; Ranks in the Top 10 for First Time Since 1995


CNN reached a ratings milestone in 2017, with the network posting its highest ratings on record in Total Day among adults 25-54 and total viewers. In prime time, CNN had its second most watched year since 2008 in the demo 25-54 and total viewers.

CNN will close out 2017 ranking #7 in ALL of cable in Total Day (total viewers) – the first time it has ranked in the Top 10 since 1995. The network also had its second largest share of the cable news audience since 2001 among adults 25-54 (29%), and since 2009 in total viewers (23%).

For the fourth straight year, CNN surpassed MSNBC in Total Day in the demo (259k vs. MSNBC’s 206k), growing +11% vs. last year.  In M-Su prime time, CNN averaged 379k among adults 25-54 during this first year after President Trump’s election, +44% more than the first year after Pres. Obama’s election in 2009 (264k) and +103% more than in 2013 (187k).  All of CNN weekday prime time shows are up double digits vs. 2016 among adults 25-54.

This year, CNN is on track to have its highest daytime (9am-4pm) delivery in 14 years among adults 25-54 (since 2003).  The network also beat MSNBC throughout daytime programming in 2017, averaging a +49% advantage in the key demo (252k vs. 169k) and topping MSNBC among total viewers (867k vs. 856k).  All of CNN’s daytime programs drew higher adults 25-54 audiences than MSNBC.  CNN has now topped MSNBC during daytime hours for 21 straight years.  CNN also easily beat MSNBC during weekend programming in both Total Day (234k vs. 138k) and prime time (291k vs. 135k) this year.  MSNBC ranked #3 on weekends in 2017.

Several key CNN programs smashed previous ratings records and are now posting their highest deliveries ever among adults 25-54 and total viewers this year, including:  New Day with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota, The Lead with Jake Tapper, The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, Erin Burnett Outfront, Anderson Cooper 360 and CNN Tonight with Don LemonAll of these shows are also up double digits vs. last year among adults 25-54.

CNN ranked #1 among adults 25-54 topping both MSNBC and Fox News on Saturdays each hour from 1-6pm and at 7pm.  The network was also #1 on Sundays every hour from 12pm-1am among adults 25-54.  And CNN topped MSNBC this year in the key demo 25-54 for 20 out of 24 hours on weekdays and every hour from 6am-6am on Saturdays and Sundays.  CNN registered its second closest delivery to Fox News in Total Day and prime time since 2008 among 25-54.

Finally, if comparing the prime time block (8-11pm) to a year ago, please note for context that CNN had unprecedented and record-high prime time viewership during the Presidential primaries, caucuses, conventions; the most debates and town halls in cable news and the most-watched Election Night in cable news history among both adults 25-54 and total viewers.

Median Age:

CNN has a younger audience in 2017 – averaging five years younger than Fox News and MSNBC in Total Day.  In prime time, CNN’s audience is seven years younger than Fox News and six  years younger than MSNBC.  MSNBC is tracking its oldest audience on record.

Out of Home Viewing:

With the new measurement Out of Home Viewing now available, CNN averaged a +7% lift in Total Day among 25-54 in 2017.  Among all reportable OOH cable networks, CNN ranked #2 with 25-54 viewers gained, only behind ESPN.


In Total Day, CNN reached 76.013 million total viewers this year, +9% more than Fox News’ 70.019 million and +29% more than MSNBC’s 58.971 million.  Among viewers 25-54, CNN reached 28.901 million, a +19% advantage over Fox News’ 24.284 million and +35% more than MSNBC’s 21.332 million.

CNN 2017 Program Highlights:


Evenings/Prime Time:


Source: The Nielsen Company via MultiTrak and NPower, 2017 to-date (12/26/16-12/17/17) vs. previous yearly averages.  Median age is based on P2+.  Reach is average monthly and based on 75% unification, 1-minute qualifier.  Based on Live data from 1994-2005, Live+7 data from 2006-2016, and Live+7 (thru 12/3/17) blended with Most Current (12/4/17-12/17/17) data for 2017 to-date.  Out of Home Viewing: syndicated OOH data service; 2017 to-date (12/26/16-11/19/17); includes reportable Out of Home cable networks; based on Live+7 data.

CNN Original Series Highlights:

CNN Original Series had significant ratings success in 2017, with this year’s slate featuring three of CNN’s Top Five Original Series of all time among adults 25-54, including the Top Two spots.  They are: #1 The Nineties, #2 The History of Comedy and #5 Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (season nine).  All of the series this year ranked either #1 or #2 in their respective premiere time periods, with many outperforming the combined delivery of Fox News and MSNBC among adults 25-54.  Several series are also averaging record highs:

Source: The Nielsen Company via NPower.  CNN Original Series to-date: 4/14/13-11/26/17.  Premieres only.  Median age is based on P2+.  Based on Live+7 data.

CNN Films Highlights:

Source: The Nielsen Company via NPower.  CNN Films and CNN Films Presents premieres to-date: 3/10/13-11/12/17.  Premieres only.  Median age is based on P2+.  Based on Live+7 data.