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New cable-news ratings show another shift in power. Is Fox News making a comeback or sinking?
After a rough May for Fox News, the leading cable-news network appears to be making a comeback. (2016 file photo/Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

New cable-news ratings show another shift in power. Is Fox News making a comeback or sinking?

The Blaze reported on Wednesday left-wing cable-news outlet MSNBC enjoyed historic ratings gains in May. For the first time since September 2000, MSNBC surpassed CNN and Fox News in the key 25-54 demographic during primetime on weekdays, according to Nielsen.

Fox News, which has dominated cable news for the better part of the past 20 years, struggled to find solid ground for much of the month in the wake of multiple embarrassing news stories and the dismissal of cable-news giant Bill O’Reilly.

Liberal MSNBC host Rachel Maddow gained the most from O’Reilly’s departure. Capitalizing on Donald Trump’s toughest month yet as president, Maddow won the 9 p.m. hour in total viewers over CNN and Fox News for the first time in 20 years. Although Fox News remained the top cable-news network over the course of the month, CNN and MSNBC gained significant ground on Fox and routinely won the key demographic in primetime.

Despite these setbacks, Fox News ended May and began June much stronger, suggesting Fox News could be back on the rise. On Wednesday, Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” won the 8 p.m. hour with 550,000 viewers in the key 25-54 demographic, according to TV Newser. “Hannity” won the 10 p.m. hour by more than 30,000 key-demographic viewers (MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell came in second). Also, FNC’s Bret Baier won the 6 p.m. timeslot and Martha MacCallum’s “The Story” finished in second, just barely losing to CNN’s “OutFront” with Erin Burnett.

On Thursday, Fox News performed even better, according to TV Newser’s ratings. It won handedly in primetime in the key demographic, beating competitors CNN and MSNBC in every primetime timeslot, from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., except for MacCallum’s “The Story,” which fell 11,000 viewers short of matching Burnett’s “OutFront.” The biggest surprise of the night was FNC’s “The Five” beating out (barely) Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. Over the past month, Maddow has dominated Fox News at the 9 p.m. timeslot. “Tucker Carlson Tonight” had the best performance of any cable-news show, easily winning the 25-54 demographic with 619,000 viewers.

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Justin Haskins

Justin Haskins

Justin Haskins is the director of the Socialism Research Center at the Heartland Institute and the co-author of the New York Times best-seller "Dark Future: Uncovering the Great Reset’s Terrifying Next Phase."
@JustinTHaskins →