Viewers returned to CNN in big numbers in April to get the latest news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, posting its best numbers since Hurricane Katrina in September 2005.
CNN also surpassed MSNBC for the first time in three years in total day among total viewers. In day-side, CNN was top in all of cable and was top in cable news for the first time since January 2009 among adults 25-54.
In prime time, CNN surpassed MSNBC in the demo, posting its biggest margins over MSNBC in years. CNN grew by triple digits across every day-part in both total viewers and adults 25-54, far more than either Fox or MSNBC.
In total day (6am-6am), CNN had its best month since 2005 in the demo adults 25-54, topping MSNBC for the fifth straight month (396k vs. 218k). This represents a +82% advantage over MSNBC, the network’s best in four years (since March 2016). In total viewers, CNN averaged 1.364 million, surpassing MSNBC’s 1.291 million for the first time in three years (since February 2017). This is also the network’s third-highest total day among total viewers since the start of the Iraq War (behind March/April 2003). CNN grew the most in cable news in April in total day, increasing +149% in total viewers and +179% in the demo adults 25-54. Fox was up +65%/+83% and MSNBC +39%/+54% respectively.
This is the first time CNN has ranked top in cable news during the day in 11 years (since January 2009). In total viewers, CNN topped MSNBC in day-side (1.674 million vs. 1.465 million) for the first time since September 2017. CNN also ranked top in all of cable during day-side this month, topping Fox and all of the other cable networks in the demo.
Compared to a year ago, CNN is up +167% in total viewers and a staggering +243% in the demo adults 25-54. Fox was up +63%/+96% and MSNBC increased +59%/+106%. Brooke Baldwin, Victor Blackwell, Kate Bolduan, Ana Cabrera, Anderson Cooper, Poppy Harlow, Erica Hill, Brianna Keilar, John King, Christi Paul, Jim Sciutto and Fredricka Whitfield all contributed to CNN Newsroom during dayside and/or weekend coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
From 11am-5pm on weekdays, CNN was top in cable news in the demographic adults 25-54, topping Fox and MSNBC. At 4pm, CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper was top in cable news in the demo adults 25-54 with 531k, Fox followed with 521k and MSNBC had 322k.
CNN averaged 2.173 million total viewers in weekday prime (8-11pm) and 1.957 million in M-Su prime (8-11pm) this month, the network’s most-watched weekday prime time since October 2008.
For the second straight month, CNN overtook MSNBC during weekday prime time (M-F, 655k vs. MSNBC’s 416k) and M-Su prime time (583k vs. MSNBC’s 343k) among adults 25-54. This is CNN’s best advantage over MSNBC in weekday prime (+57%) and in M-Su prime (+70%) since August 2019.
CNN’s audience grew by triple-digits in prime time in April compared to a year ago, far more than Fox and significantly more than MSNBC. In weekday (M-F) prime time in total viewers, CNN was up +147%, to Fox’s +49% and MSNBC’s +17%.
Among adults 25-54, CNN grew an impressive +182% to Fox’s +65% to MSNBC’s +24%. In M-Su prime time, CNN was up +149% in total viewers and +186% in the demo vs. a year ago, compared to Fox’s +50%/+67% and MSNBC’s +21%/+30% growth respectively.
Also in prime time, CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 surpassed MSNBC’s All in with Chris Hayes in total viewers for the first time since November 2016, Cuomo Prime Time beat MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show for the first time ever among adults 25-54 and CNN Tonight with Don Lemon outperformed MSNBC’s Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell for the second straight month in the demo 25-54 in April.
CNN’s global Town Halls, Coronavirus: Facts and Fears, hosted by CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, along with health experts, CNN correspondents from around the world and others, have become essential viewing since the first one aired on March 5th.
The Town Halls continue to have robust interest among viewers, averaging 2.302 million total viewers and 721k in the demo adults 25-54 over eight episodes. Most recently (4/25), CNN aired a special Town Hall along with Sesame Street, The ABC’s of COVID-19, which provided information and tools for families and answered questions from parents and kids about the coronavirus pandemic.
The Town Hall, hosted by CNN’s Erica Hill, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Sesame Street’s Big Bird, ranked #2 among adults 25-54 delivering 260k and delivered 809k among total viewers.
On Saturdays, CNN was top in cable news every hour from 11am-4pm, 7pm, 12a and 3a. On Sundays, the network was top-rated at 3pm, 11am-2pm, 8pm-11p, and 12a-5a.
CNN’s Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter was top on Sundays at 11am in the demo adults 25-54. CNN surpassed MSNBC in both weekend total day and prime in both total viewers and adults 25-54, outperforming MSNBC for all 24 out of 24 hours on Saturdays and Sundays.
On 4/25 CNN’s Special Reports The Road to Change: America’s Climate Crisis, reported by Chief Climate Correspondent Bill Weir ranked #2 in cable news among both total viewers (1.036 million) and adults 25-54 (265k).
Additionally, on 4/18 CNN’s special The Color of COVID, hosted by CNN’s Don Lemon and political commentator Van Jones, also ranked #2 in its time period among both total viewers (1.197 million) and adults 25-54 (347k).