2013 Cable News Ratings: Fox News Sees Sharp Demo Decline, CNN Suffers In Primetime

Cable News Networks Had A Rough Year

The ratings for 2013 are in, and it was a rough year for cable news networks.

Like clockwork, Fox News led the pack with an average of 1.097 million total viewers in primetime, according to Nielsen numbers reported by TV Newser. It was the network's 12th straight year in first place. MSNBC and CNN duked it out for second place: MSNBC topped CNN in primetime (640,000 total viewers vs. 568,000 total viewers), while CNN beat MSNBC in total day (413,000 total viewers vs. 394,000 total viewers).

CNN hit a 20-year low from 8-11pm in weekday primetime, as TV Newser reported. Network president Jeff Zucker tinkered with the line-up slightly, adding "AC 360" at 10 p.m. and experimenting with the 11 p.m. timeslot. Zucker has promised more changes in primetime in the coming year as he seeks programming with more "attitude."

MSNBC also got its share of rough ratings news in 2013.

Meanwhile, all the cable news networks had lower ratings compared to 2012, an election year. It was Fox News, however, that saw the sharpest decline in viewers ages 25-54: the network lost 19 percent of its audience in the demo during total day, and a whopping 30 percent in primetime. Despite its continued dominance, falling viewership in the coveted 25-54 demo was a sore spot for the network last year.

In January, for example, Fox News had its worst prime time ratings in the demo since August 2001, and its lowest total day ratings since June 2008. Greta Van Susteren and Sean Hannity saw record lows in the demo, and Bill O'Reilly suffered huge losses in the demo as well.

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