US & Canada Television

May Ratings Show Viewers Returning to CNN


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CNN had exceptional May with busy news agenda, and domestic politics playing a big role.

Despite tremendous audience levels for the firing of former FBI Director James Comey and the subsequent appointment of Robert Mueller as Special Counsel last May, CNN this year had its second-best May ever (after 2017) in total day among total viewers (657k) and the third-best among adults 25-54 (199k; after 2011 and 2017).

The network had its second-best May dayside performance since 2003 among total viewers (701k) and third best in the demo 25-54 (191k). CNN’s morning program New Day and The Lead with Jake Tapper and the network’s weekday primetime programs (Erin Burnett Outfront, AC 360 at 8pm and CNN Tonight) all had their second-best May performance on record in both total viewers and adults 25-54 (after 2017).

CNN once again surpassed MSNBC in total day, daytime and on weekends this month among adults 25-54. In total day, CNN has now topped MSNBC for 47 straight months in the key demographic 25-54 (199k vs. 197k), the longest monthly streak since January 2010.



In dayside (9am-4pm), CNN dominated MSNBC for a record breaking 51 consecutive months among the coveted demographic adults 25-54 in May (191k vs. 179k).

CNN topped MSNBC on weekends, in both total day and prime time among adults 25-54. In total day, CNN averaged 196k vs. MSNBC’s 120k. In weekend prime time, CNN posted 245k and MSNBC followed with 112k. On Saturdays, CNN Newsroom with Fredricka Whitfield/Ana Cabrera topped MSNBC and Fox from 11am-6pm and at 7pm and outperformed MSNBC for 20 out of 24 hours among adults 25-54. On Sundays, CNN was #1 at 3pm, 9pm-midnight and beat MSNBC for 24 out of 24 hours in 25-54.

CNN Programme highlights


  1. New Day with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota (6a-9a) had its second-best May ratings performance on record in total viewers (584k) and among adults 25-54 (186k).
  2. The Lead with Jake Tapper (4pm) had its second-highest May on record among total viewers (794k) and adults 25-54 (213k). This is also the network’s second-best 4pm time period performance in May since 1996 in both total viewers and adults 25-54.
  3. Erin Burnett Outfront (7pm) had its second-highest total delivery in total viewers (818k) and adults 25-54 (269k).
  4. Anderson Cooper 360 (8pm) also had its second-best May delivery on record in both total viewers (929k) and adults 25-54 (289k). This is also the network’s second-highest May ever in the 8pm time period in both total viewers and adults 25-54. AC 360 is CNN’s top-rated weekday prime time program in total viewers.
  5. CNN Tonight with Don Lemon (10pm) had its second-best May ratings on record in total viewers (858k) and adults 25-54 (294k). CNN Tonight is CNN’s top-rated weekday prime time program among adults 25-54.

Other key CNN programs such as Early Start with Christine Romans and Dave Briggs, Inside Politics with John King, Wolf, CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin, Smerconish, State of the Union with Jake Tapper, Fareed Zakaria GPS, Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter and New Day on weekends all easily surpassed MSNBC this month, posting higher demo 25-54 audiences.