January 28th, 2020



CNN Also Surpasses MSNBC in Total Day, Dayside, Weekends;

and Sunday Mornings in Demo 25-54

CNN is a Top 10 Network in All of Cable for 24th Consecutive Month


CNN hit a ratings milestone this month, posting its best January on record in weekday prime time with 1.439 million total viewers. For the first time since August 2019, CNN overtook MSNBC in prime time in the key demographic adults 25-54.  During weekday prime time (M-F, 8-11pm), CNN averaged 399k while MSNBC followed with 369k and in M-Su prime time (8-11pm), CNN attracted 327k to MSNBC’s 292k in the key demo adults 25-54.

In total day, CNN beat MSNBC once again in the key demo adults 25-54 (194k vs. MSNBC’s 158k) this month.  CNN has now topped MSNBC for 65 of the past 67 months in total day in the 25-54 demo.  In total viewers, the network averaged 756k – CNN’s third-highest January total day ratings since 2009 (following 2017 and 2019).

CNN also surpassed MSNBC during dayside (9am-4pm daypart, 196k vs. MSNBC’s 143k) now for the 71st straight month, the longest streak on record. On weekends, CNN topped MSNBC in total day in total viewers (609k vs. 581k), and among adults 25-54 (148k vs. 100k).  And in weekend prime time, CNN easily surpassed MSNBC in total viewers (626k vs. 600k) and in the key demo (147k vs. 98k).  CNN outperformed MSNBC for 22 out of 24 hours on Saturdays and Sundays in the demo 25-54.  All of CNN’s Sunday morning public affairs programs topped MSNBC in the demo adults 25-54 in January.

Among ALL cable networks, CNN ranked #4 in total viewers in total day and weekday prime time in January. This marks the 24th consecutive month that CNN was a Top 10 cable network among total viewers in total day.  In M-Su prime time, CNN ranked #7 in all of cable this month among total viewers.  CNN also had the youngest audience in cable news in total day and prime time and reached the largest cumulative TV audience (among both total viewers and adults 25-54) this month.


January News Program Highlights:

  • The Lead with Jake Tapper (4pm) ranked #2 in cable news at 4pm, outperforming MSNBC’s Deadline: White House among adults 25-54 (209k vs. 183k) for the second straight month.
  • The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer outperformed MSNBC at both 5pm and 6pm in the key demo adults 25-54 in January.  During the 5pm hour, Sit Room dominated MSNBC in 25-54 (231k vs. 165k), now topping MSNBC for the 20th straight month.  At 6pm, the Blitzer-led program beat MSNBC (236k vs. MSNBC’s 214k) for third straight month and for 20 out of the past 24 months. This is Sit Room’s third highest January in total viewers since 2009 (following 2017 and 2019).
  • Erin Burnett Outfront  (7pm) once again easily beat MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews in the key demo this month (294k vs. 232k).  EBOF has now outperformed MSNBC for the sixth consecutive month and for 10 out the past 12 months among adults 25-54.  This is the program’s second-highest January on record in total viewers (1.097 million, just behind 2019).
  • Anderson Cooper 360 beat MSNBC’s All in With Chris Hayes this month for the first time since September 2019 in the key demo adults 25-54 (347k vs. 289k).  This is AC 360’s third-highest January on record in total viewers (1.263 million, just behind 2017 and 2019).
  • Cuomo Prime Time with Chris Cuomo (9pm) was CNN’s top-rated news program in both total viewers (1.357 million) and adults 25-54 (381k) this month.
  • CNN Tonight with Don Lemon averaged 1.053 million total viewers and 308k in the demo at 10pm in January.


All of CNN’s dayside programs also outperformed MSNBC in January, posting higher demo 25-54 audiences including:  CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto (9am and 10am), At This Hour with Kate Bolduan (11am), Inside Politics with John King (weekday, noon), CNN Right Now with Brianna Keilar (1pm) and CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin (2pm and 3pm).  CNN’s morning programs Early Start with Christine Romans and Laura Jarrett (4-6am) topped MSNBC in the demo 25-54 and CNN’s New Day with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman (6-9am), registered its third-highest January on record among total viewers (538k, behind 2018 and 2019).

On Saturdays, Smerconish, CNN Newsroom with Fredricka Whitfield (11-3pm), CNN Newsroom with Ana Cabrera (3-6pm and 7-9pm) and S.E. Cupp Unfiltered all ranked #2 in cable news in the demo 25-54.  New Day Sat/Sun with Christi Paul and Victor Blackwell topped MSNBC in both total viewers and the demo adults 25-54 this month.

On Sunday mornings, all of CNN’s public affairs programs including Inside Politics with John King (8am), State of the Union with Jake Tapper (9am and noon), Fareed Zakaria GPS (10 am and 1pm) ranked #2 in cable news in their respective time periods, easily beating MSNBC in the 25-54 demo.  Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter (11am) also topped MSNBC in the key demo 25-54. CNN Newsroom with Fredricka Whitfield (2-5pm) ranked either #1 or #2 among total viewers and/or the demo this month.  CNN Newsroom with Ana Cabrera  and other CNN special programming topped MSNBC on Sundays in the demo this month (5-8pm).


January CNN Films Highlight:

CNN Films: Linda Ronstadt, The Sound of My Voice, a powerful and touching documentary about her life and musical journey, ranked #2 in all of cable (behind only ESPN) and debuted at #1 in cable news in both total viewers and among adults 25-54 (January 1, 9-10:55pm). In total viewers, Linda Ronstadt, The Sound of My Voice averaged 2.428 million total viewers, +50% more than Fox’s 1.616 million and a +283% lead over MSNBC’s 634k.  This was CNN Films’ third-highest rated film in total viewers (following Glen Campbell I’ll Be Me and Three Identical Strangers).  In the key demographic adults 25-54, the film attracted 381k, +143% more than MSNBC’s 157k and +64% more than Fox’s 232k. (Nielsen Live+7 data)


Multiplatform Reach:

2019-to-date CNN reaches more people than any other cable news brand across TV and digital and reaches more people ages 25-54 than any other news brand across TV and digital.

Note that Comscore Xmedia data is delivered on a delayed schedule and therefore the above reflects Jan-Nov 2019.


Out of Home TV Lift:

Closing out 2019, CNN averaged a +9.4% lift (or +16k) in total day among adults 25-54 with OOH viewers and a +5.7% lift (or +37k) in total day among total viewers, its highest yearly percentage lift on record in both demos.


Digital to TV Lift:

CNN Digital viewing added a 3.0% lift (or +23k) to CNN’s P2+ TV audience in January.