12/04/2012 10:51 pm ET Updated Feb 03, 2013

News Rating Trends

Every fourth November is a big month for news, because the election occurs, and the results are debated for a couple of weeks, then Thanksgiving comes, and the rating numbers collapse. Last month's ratings were pretty much as expected, the liberal networks had more viewers than FoxNews and Obama won the election pretty easily. But, then came Thanksgiving week and all news viewing was down, even FoxNews lost one-third of its usual primetime viewers. MSNBC was down by a quarter, and CNN dropped by more than half. Last week, saw a slight uptick--Fox was still down 400,000 viewers in prime, MSNBC was down almost 300,000 and CNN finished with almost 500,000 fewer than during the month of November.

All demographics were down as well in primetime. FoxNews did so poorly that MSNBC beat it in 18-49s, and CNN had less than half the number of FoxNews or MSNBC. MSNBC's prime line up is doing particularly well, in that it beat Fox by ten percent in adults 25-54, the audience that most advertisers pay for. Among youngest viewers, 18-34s, even Headline News beat CNN, the first time I can remember that happening. MSNBC won that demo, as it usually does, with more than twice as many viewers as FoxNews.

In total day, FoxNews did a little better, almost twice as many total viewers as MSNBC and almost three times as many viewers as CNN. In the demos, FoxNews edged MSNBC in 18-49s by almost 2,000 viewers, CNN barely edged Headline News, and had only about 60 percent of the viewers that FoxNews and MSNBC had. Once again, MSNBC doubled FoxNews in the 18-49s and FoxNews edged out CNN and Headline News in that category. FoxNews took the 25-54s, beating MSNBC by 10 percent, but once again doubling the audience of CNN.

It seemed like a quiet week, except for the fact that MSNBC is doing a lot better than its ever done before in all categories.

One final note, my old Food Network took a step and a half back -- for the first time, it finished lower than 15th in all categories in total day programming and in primetime. I'm surprised. I always thought that everybody was interested in food around Christmas time.