Joe Flint at The Wall Street Journal reports that among the top 10 cable networks in terms of prime-time viewers, only Fox News Channel, HGTV and Discovery Channel are on track to finish 2015 on an upswing. According to Nielsen, Fox News averaged 1.8 million viewers in prime time through Dec. 15, a 4 percent increase compared with the same period a year ago.
“The GOP debates and the emergence of Donald Trump as a Republican contender were definitely a boost for Fox News and CNN,” Flint reported. CNN is up 40 percent in prime-time, but it’s only 718,000 viewers, far below Fox. MSNBC was down one percent to 580,000, which suggests they’re still pondering the futures of Chris Hayes and Lawrence O’Donnell. Flint added:
The value of live programming was evident by ESPN’s being the most-watched cable channel in prime time with Fox News a close second. As more viewers record shows or watch on-demand, live sports and popular news talk has become more important to networks. ESPN averaged 2.1 million viewers, an 8% drop compared with last year when it averaged 2.3 million viewers.
Among the top channels taking a dive in 2015 were TNT, losing 16 percent in prime-time viewers, and History Channel, down 20 percent.
The Drudge Report highlighted this news, as well as a piece by Washington Post media reporter Callum Borchers that tweaked liberals. He noted that when Bill O’Reilly asked Donald Trump to bash CNN, Trump said CNN was nicer to him than Fox. O’Reilly replied “that’s because we’re the toughest network.” Wrote Borchers:
Laugh all you want, Fox haters, but O’Reilly might be right — at least as far as the 2016 Republican presidential primary goes.
You’d have to be in a Rumpelstiltskin-esque slumber not to know that Trump has been carping about Fox coverage for months now....
Fox has gotten under Trump’s skin more often than most, with tough questions and reasonable critiques on proposals like blocking all Muslims from entering the United States and building a wall along the Southern border to keep out Mexicans.
And it’s not just Trump getting a thorough vetting from Fox. Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) wilted in an interview on Wednesday when Bret Baier pointed out that Cruz’s recent statements about never supporting a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants is inconsistent with what he said two years ago.
After the Islamic State attacks on Paris last month, Chris Wallace grilled Ben Carson on foreign policy during a 10-minute interview that exposed — as well as any other — the retired neurosurgeon’s lack of command over an issue that has been widely attributed to his decline.