Television news viewership in the United States soared during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with Fox News Channel leading the list and CNN recording the most dramatic increase.
Together, CNN, Fox, and MSNBC garnered an average of 6.4 million primetime viewers between the start of the war last Wednesday and Sunday night. This figure exceeds the January average of 4 million, according to the specialized company Nielsen.
For the full days between Wednesday and Sunday, Fox had an average audience of 2.32 million viewers, a 64% increase compared to the quieter January in terms of news.
CNN’s viewership soared from 633,000 in January to 1.75 million last week, a 178% increase. For its part, MSNBC had 980,000 viewers for its coverage of the war, up 51% from January. These figures reflect a pattern of behavior: CNN tends to have the most drastic increases during major news events, while its rivals, more focused on political debates, are more stable in periods of informational calm.
As for entertainment, last Thursday the renowned series “Law and Order” returned, with 5.8 million people watching the premiere of the new season. The series, along with “Chicago Fire” and all its sequels, gave prolific producer Dick Wolf four series in Nielsen’s top 12.
In prime time, the CBS network stood out, with an average of 4.5 million viewers. ABC had 3.5 million, NBC 3.4 million, Fox 2 million, Univision 1.7 million, Ion Television 1.1 million, and Telemundo 1 million.
At the head of the cable television networks was Fox News Channel, with an average of 3.17 million viewers in prime time.
CNN had 1.5 million, MSNBC 1.39 million, ESPN 1.15 million, and HGTV 1.1 million.
ABC’s “World News Tonight” won the nightly news rating race with an average of 9 million viewers last week. NBC’s “Nightly News” recorded 7.6 million and the CBS Evening News 5.3 million.