Scandal-scarred CNN has seen its viewership nosedive by a staggering 90 percent both overall and in the critical demographic coveted by advertisers in the first week of the new year.
The once-proud leader in cable news averaged just 548,000 viewers during the week of January 3, a precipitous drop to the nearly 2.7 million viewers from the same week in 2021, according to the most recent ratings.
Those numbers were boosted by the the left-leaning network’s coverage of the January 6 Capitol Riot, which resulted in CNN having its most-watched day in history. However, on the one-year anniversary of the insurrection, right-wing rival Fox topped ratings for coverage of the event.
The network also saw an 86 percent decline in the much-desirable 25 to 54 demographic, where on 113,000 tuned in last week, compared to the 822,000 CNN averaged a year ago.
CNN, which was swallowed up by AT&T in its merger with WarnerMedia last year, has been plagued by high-profile scandals – most notably the firing of its top-rated prime time star Chris Cuomo after the anchor was found to be helping his sex-pest brother Andrew try to beat harassment allegations that led to his resignation as New York’s governor.
CNN kicked off the new year with a staggering decline of nearly 90 percent in both viewership from its overall audience and critical target age demographic
The sharp decline followed CNN’s second most-watched year ever, the Daily Beast reported. Despite having a record year, network viewership trended downward for the second half of 2021. The network’s demo ratings sank in the third quarter to its smallest since 2014 before bottoming out at the end of the year.
The network saw its strongest ever year in 2020, with viewership likely fueled by pandemic and election coverage.
CNN boss Jeff Zucker was slammed in December 2021 over the network’s low ratings and reported scandals over the actions of several prominent figures including Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon.
Cuomo was fired in December with immediate effect after being accused by a former colleague of sexual harassment.
He had been suspended days earlier after York Attorney General Letitia James’ office released text messages that detailed exactly how the star anchor aided his brother, Andrew Cuomo, then-governor of New York, as he tried to fight off a sexual harassment scandal last year.
Although it was not referenced in CNN’s statement regarding his termination, an attorney told the New York Times that she had informed the network of her client’s allegation of prior sexual misconduct against Chris Cuomo.
The notoriously liberal news network averaged 548,000 viewers during the week of January 3, a significant drop in comparison to its nearly 2.7 million viewers from the same week in 2021, according to ratings data obtained by Fox News
Debra S. Katz, a prominent employment lawyer who also represents one of Andrew Cuomo’s accusers, said that the allegation against Chris Cuomo was made by a former junior colleague at another network, and was unrelated to the Gov. Andrew Cuomo matter.’
Further details about the allegation are unclear, including which network Chris Cuomo was working at at the time of the alleged misconduct. Cuomo’s spokesman denied the claim, saying: ‘These apparently anonymous allegations are not true.’
CNN’s statement cited only Cuomo’s ‘conduct with his brother’s defense’ in its decision to terminate the anchor.
Media critics last month slammed network President Jeff Zucker for allowing ratings to drop with some accusing him of ‘protecting perverts and pedophiles’
Meanwhile, Lemon faced scrutiny for his own alleged ethics scandal. The host is being sued by a Hamptons bartender who claims he rubbed his own genitals then shoved his fingers in his face in 2018.
He was also slammed for covering Jussie Smollett’s trial after the Empire actor testified in court that the host informed him in a text message that Chicago police did not believe he was the victim of a racist homophobic attack.
Additionally, CNN senior producer John Griffin was arrested by the FBI on charges involving sex crimes with children.
Media critics slammed Zucker, accusing him of ‘protecting perverts and pedophiles’ while also allowing his network ratings to drop.
‘Given the sheer number of public sexual misconduct allegations – from harassment and child sexual violence to abusing one’s journalistic credentials to try to silence women who have made allegations – it’s fair to ask whether these are indicative of a broader cultural rot at the network that’s being papered over as they focus on other priorities,’ journalist Drew Holden told Fox News last month.
‘Zucker has managed to simultaneously protect perverts and pedophiles as well as oversee a massive decline in ratings,’ echoed Amber Athey, editor for the Spectator.
Media critic Jeffrey McCall alleged that Zucker was ‘responsible for the culture in which underlings felt these misjudgments were ok’.
CNN’s declining ratings come as the network has made headlines over actions the actions of anchor Don Lemon (left) and former host Chris Cuomo (right). They both face face accusations of sexual harassment
The network was also criticized by the public after Andy Cohen went on a drunken rant blasting former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and ABC host Ryan Seacrest while hosting CNN’s New Year’s Eve broadcast
‘Aside from the string of professional missteps, it would seem Zucker should at least shoulder responsibility for the cratering ratings of this once-proud news organization,’ he said. ‘The ratings struggles alone at this channel should cause concern in the upper hierarchy of CNN’s parent company.’
Most recently, CNN was criticized by the public after Andy Cohen went on a drunken rant blasting former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and ABC host Ryan Seacrest while hosting the network’s New Year’s Eve broadcast.
The presenter confessed to being ‘overserved’ with alcohol while hosting the special alongside Anderson Cooper, later admitting he was ‘stupid and drunk and feeling it.’
He said he has ‘no apologies for drinking on New Year’s Eve, none’ and claimed CNN and Zucker had not addressed the rant with him.
CNN has already confirmed he would be invited back at the end of 2022.
During the first week of the year, CNN recorded a year-over-year drop of 80 percent of its total audience.
The network appeared to struggle catching eyes during primetime, between 8 and 11pm, recording an 83 percent year-over-year drop. It had 4.2 million total primetime viewers during the first week of 2021 and only 705,000 last week.
CNN also shed 89 percent of its primetime viewers among its key demographic and 91 percent of viewers ages 18 to 49.
The television news leader also failed to maintain strong viewership on January 6, something its anchors boasted about the prior year.
In 2021, the network averaged 5.3 million viewers on January 6. This year it failed to reach 1.5 million during any hour of the day despite having special programing marking the anniversary of the riot (Pictured: CNN coverage of the Capitol Riot from Jan. 6, 2021)
The sharp decline at the start of 2022 followed CNN’s second most-watched year ever. The network saw its strongest ever year in 2020, which viewership likely fueled by pandemic and election coverage (Pictured: CNN’s Democratic primary event in July 2019)
In 2021, the network averaged 5.3 million viewers on January 6. This year it failed to reach 1.5 million during any hour of the day despite having special programing marking the anniversary of the riot.
CNN averaged 743,000 viewers on January 6, 2022, an 86 percent decline from the previous year.
When the news outlet topped rankings for insurrection coverage last year, several anchors took to Twitter to applaud the network’s success. Some Americans mocked the network over the praise, alleging it was insensitive in wake of what CNN called ‘one of the darkest days in American history’.
CNN did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
While CNN’s ratings declined last week, Fox topped the rankings for its coverage of January 6. It was also the no. 1 ranked cable news network during President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’ anniversary remarks.
During the first week of the year, the network averaged 1.4 million total viewers, only a 15 percent drop from the same period in 2021.
The network has reportedly outdrawn CNN and MSNBC combined for 21 weeks straight. It also outdrew ESPN’s 1.1 million viewers, finishing as the most-watched basic cable option.
MSNBC lost 67 percent of its total audience last week, 80 percent of which was among its key demographic.