November 2nd, 2021

CNN Surpasses MSNBC In Total Day, Dayside & Weekends During October In Demo

The Lead with Jake Tapper, The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, Erin Burnett Outfront and Anderson Cooper 360 All Outperform MSNBC in Key Demo Adults 25-54

Cuomo Prime Time Posts CNN’s Highest Delivery in Total Viewers and Outfront has Highest in Adults 25-54 this Month 

CNN Original Series This is Life with Lisa Ling and Diana Rank #1 in Demo

(Of note:  All CNN, FNC and MSNBC dayparts and programs are registering double-digit declines compared to October last year due to the heightened news cycle the month before the 2020 presidential election)

CNN surpassed MSNBC in Total Day, dayside and on weekends in the key demographic adults 25-54 during the month of October according to Nielsen data.  CNN is also a top 10 cable network in total viewers across Total Day and daytime. CNN’s Original Series Diana and This is Life with Lisa Ling kicked off their seasons ranking #1 among the demo 25-54 respectively in cable news during the 9pm and 10pm hours on Sundays.  CNN continues to have the youngest audience in cable news in Total Day and prime time and reaches the largest cumulative TV audience among both total viewers and 25-54, 2021-to-date.  CNN’s digital platforms are also having record numbers, making CNN the most watched and most used news and information brand in the world.


October Dayparts

  • In Total Day (6am-6am)CNN easily beat MSNBC in the key demo adults 25-54 (102k vs. MSNBC’s 79k) in October.  CNN has now outperformed MSNBC for the 23rd consecutive month in Total Day demo 25-54.
  • During Dayside (9am-4pm), CNN outperformed MSNBC for the 92nd consecutive month, averaging 130k vs. 75k in the demo.  The network also ranked #3 in all of cable (not just news) during the day in total viewers in October.
  • On Weekends, CNN also topped MSNBC in Total Day (6am-6am) in total viewers (410k vs. 327k) and in the demo 25-54 (74k vs. 36k). In weekend prime time, CNN beat MSNBC in total viewers (498k vs. 327k) and adults 25-54 (94k vs. 30k).  All of CNN’s Sunday morning public affairs programs topped MSNBC in the demo 25-54 during October.  CNN beat MSNBC for all 24 hours on Saturdays and Sundays in adults 25-54 this month.


October Weekday Program Ratings

  • During the 8-9am hour, New Day with John Berman and Brianna Keilar outperformed MSNBC’s Morning Joe among adults 25-54 (91k vs. 89k) for the third straight month.  Early Start with Christine Romans and Laura Jarrett (5-6am) outperformed MSNBC by +9% in the demo (48k vs 44k) in October.
  • All CNN dayside programs (9am-4pm) beat MSNBC in the demo 25-54 including CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto (9-11am), At This Hour with Kate Bolduan (11am), Inside Politics with John King (noon), CNN Newsroom with Ana Cabrera (1pm) and CNN Newsroom with Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell (2-4pm).  
  • The Lead with Jake Tapper easily topped MSNBC this month at 4pm  (149k vs. 115k, +28%) now for the 20th consecutive month.  At 5pm, the Tapper-led program had a +12% advantage over MSNBC (141k vs. 126k) and has now surpassed them for the sixth straight month in the coveted demo adults 25-54.
  • The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer (6pm) outperformed MSNBC in October in the key demographic adults 25-54 (143k vs. 132k), posting a +8% advantage. The Blitzer-led program has now outperformed MSNBC for the 20th consecutive month.
  • Erin Burnett Outfront (7pm) surpassed MSNBC’s ReidOut this month in the key demo 25-54 (165k vs. 149k), averaging a +11% advantage. The Burnett-led program has now outperformed MSNBC for the 27th consecutive month. Outfrontdelivered CNN’s highest rated program among adults 25-54 this month (165k).
  • Anderson Cooper 360 (8pm) topped All in With Chris Hayes (163k vs. 158k) in October, now outperforming MSNBC for the 22nd consecutive month in the demo 25-54; posting a +3% advantage.
  • Cuomo Prime Time with Chris Cuomo (9pm) averaged 826k in total viewers this month, delivering the network’s highest rated program in total viewers.
  • Don Lemon Tonight delivered 631k total viewers and 143k in the demo at 10pm. At 11pm, Don Lemon Tonight averaged 434k in total viewers and 109k in the demo adults 25-54.


October Weekend Program Ratings

New Day Weekend with Christi Paul and Boris Sanchez surpassed MSNBC in total viewers on Saturdays and Sundays (6-8am).  Smerconish topped MSNBC on Saturday mornings at 9am in the key demo 25-54 (95k vs. 50k) and among total viewers (596k vs. 552k). On weekend afternoons/evenings, CNN Newsroom with Fredricka WhitfieldCNN Newsroom with Jim Acosta and CNN Newsroom with Pamela Brown outperformed MSNBC in each hour on Saturdays/Sundays in both total viewers and the demo 25-54.

On Sunday mornings, all CNN programs outperformed MSNBC this month. Inside Politics with Abby Phillip (8am) topped MSNBC in the demo; while State of the Union with Jake Tapper/Dana Bash (9am, noon), Fareed Zakaria GPS (10am, 1pm) and Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter (11am) all beat MSNBC in both total viewers and the 25-54 demo in October.


October CNN Original Series

  • Diana ranked #1 in cable news in its 9pm time period in the key demo adults 25-54 with 173k, FNC followed with 164k and MSNBC had 33k. The series averaged 1.029 million in total viewers and 25k among adults 18-34 overs its three Sunday premiere episodes.  Diana outperformed MSNBC by triple digits in the demo (+424%), in total viewers (+179%) and in younger viewers 18-34 (+175%).  It also outperformed FNC in the demo by +5%.  The series is five years younger than FNC and four years younger than MSNBC and is up double digits versus the prior four Sunday time period averages across all the demos.
  • This is Life with Lisa Ling (S8) ranked #1 in cable news its time period (10pm) among adults 25-54 averaging 162k over its three Sunday night premiere episodes, FNC followed with 136k and MSNBC had 33k.  The series averaged 743k million in total viewers and 27k among 18-34.  The Ling-led series outperformed MSNBC by triple digits in the demo 25-54 (+391%) and among younger viewers (+700%) and by double digits in total viewers (+49%).  It outperformed FNC by double digits in the demo  (+19%). The series is five years younger than FNC and six years younger than MSNBC’s audience during the time period. This is Life is up double digits vs. the prior four Sunday time period averages in all demos (total viewers, 25-54 and 18-34).

(Note: Original Series data above represents most recent Live+3 and Live+7 data)


October Special Programming

  • CNN Special Report: Gabby Petito and the Hunt for Justice (10/15/21, 9-10pm) reported by Randi Kaye averaged 167k among adults 25-54 and 837k in total viewers.
  • CNN Presidential Town Hall with Joe Biden (10/21/21, 8-9:30pm) moderated by Anderson Cooper delivered 288k among adults 25-54 and 1.278 million in total viewers.
  • CNN Special Report: Stop the Vote: The Big Lie’s Assault on Democracy (10/27/21, 9-10pm) reported by Dana Bash delivered 150k among adults 25-54 and 623k in total viewers.
  • During coverage of the G20 Summit from 10/30-10/31, CNN outperformed MSNBC by double digits in both total day (+26%) and prime (+63%) among total viewers and by triple digits (+112% / +231%) among adults 25-54. 


Median Age

In October 2021, CNN’s TV audience is three years younger than FNC and MSNBC in Total Day and is three years younger than FNC and four years younger than MNSBC in M-Su prime time.

Cable News TV Reach
CNN continues to reach the largest cumulative TV audience of any cable news network so far this year, making this the 20th consecutive year on record for the network. 

Multiplatform Reach:

CNN reaches more people in the U.S. than any other news brand across TV and digital among total viewers (176 million), 25-54 (86 million) and 18-34 (41 million).

Note that Comscore Xmedia data is delivered on a delayed schedule and therefore the above reflects Jan-Aug 2021.

Out of Home TV Lift:

4Q-21-to-date  (through 10/17/21), CNN is averaging a +6% lift (or +27k) among total viewers and a +8% lift (or +7k) among adults 25-54 OOH viewers for a total of 491k and 102k, combined in-home and OOH total viewers and adults 25-54 respectively. 

Digital to TV Lift:

CNN Digital viewing added a 2% lift (or monthly 8k) to CNN’s P2+ 490k total day TV audience for a total of 498 thousand across platforms in October.


CNN / Ratings