Fox News Channel host Tucker Carlson closed out television’s second quarter with one for the record books: his Tucker Carlson Tonight finished the quarter as the highest-rated program in all of cable news for the first time since the show’s launch, delivering an average total audience of 4.331 million viewers. In the process, Carlson broke a record held by his colleague, Sean Hannity, for the highest-rated quarter of any cable news program—ever.
It was a solid quarter for the network, which finished in first place across all of cable television for the first time in the network’s history, beating out all basic cable networks among total viewers and viewers 25-54, the demographic group most valued by national advertisers.
Some of those advertisers announced during the quarter that they would pull advertising from Carlson’s show after remarks the host made about the Black Lives Matter movement, but FNC viewers did not follow suit, instead lifting Tucker Carlson Tonight to a record high, breaking a previous record set in the first quarter of 2020 by FNC’s Hannity.
Tucker Carlson Tonight and Hannity were the only shows to break four million viewers, with Hannity just behind Carlson (4.331 million viewers vs. 4.311 million). Fox News had the five top-rated shows overall, including The Five (3.898 million viewers), Special Report with Bret Baier (3.658 million viewers) and The Ingraham Angle (3.622 million viewers). The same five shows—in the same order—led among viewers in the key demo, with Carlson delivering 791,000 viewers, according to ratings data compiled by Nielsen.
The second quarter was a good one for Fox News—and cable news in general—with viewership up across the board. Fox News finished first with a total audience in prime time of 3.574 million viewers, followed by MSNBC (1.999 million viewers) and CNN (1.806 million). Among viewers 25-54, FNC led with 624,000, followed by CNN (528,000) and MSNBC (315,000).
While Fox News posted year-over-year gains in prime time of 50%, CNN had the biggest jump, up 137%—and increasing 181% in the key demo. The rise, though huge, also reflects the deficit the network has been trying to make up in recent months.