CNN scores rare ratings win over Fox News Channel with presidential election coverage

Wolf Blitzer announces CNN's projection for the 2020 presidential election
Wolf Blitzer helps CNN win the cable network ratings week with its election coverage.

Prime-time coverage of the presidential election gave CNN a rare victory over Fox News Channel and made it the week’s second most-watched network overall behind NBC.

CNN averaged 5.941 million viewers and Fox News Channel 5.726 million for its prime-time programming between Nov. 2 and Sunday, according to live-plus-same-day figures released Tuesday by Nielsen.

Fox News Channel had been the most-watched cable network 40 of the previous 41 weeks.

NBC was first for the week, averaging 6.33 million viewers, helped in part by the “Sunday Night Football” game between the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which averaged 16.88 million viewers, the week’s largest audience.

Fox News Channel was the highest rated-network in prime time on election night, averaging 14.158 million viewers. CNN was second, averaging 9.47 million and MSNBC third, averaging 7.661 million.


ABC was first among the broadcast networks on election night, averaging 6.297 million. NBC was second, averaging 5.8 million, and CBS third, averaging 4.498 million.

More viewers watched CNN’s coverage of President-elect Joe Biden’s speech Saturday after he was declared the winner, with coverage averaging 13.503 million viewers, sixth among the week’s prime-time programs. MSNBC was second, averaging 9.005 million.

Among the broadcast networks CBS was second for the week and fourth overall, averaging 4.95 million viewers.

“60 Minutes” averaged 14.022 million viewers, fourth for the week behind “Sunday Night Football” and two segments of Fox News Channel’s election night coverage.

MSNBC was fifth for the week, averaging 4.62 million viewers. Fox was sixth, averaging 4.31 million, followed by ABC, which averaged 4.1 million.

The NBC singing competition “The Voice” was the top-rated entertainment program for the third consecutive week, with the Nov. 2 episode averaging 7.712 million viewers, ranking 20th, trailing 11 cable programs on the election results and seven NFL programs.

The season premiere of the CBS comedy “Young Sheldon” was the week’s highest ranked scripted program, averaging 6.776 million viewers, 23rd for the week, including trailing 14 cable news programs and seven NFL programs. It was second behind “The Voice” among entertainment programs.

The premiere of the CBS comedy “B Positive” which followed “Young Sheldon,” averaged 5.146 million viewers, seventh among entertainment programs.

“Schitt’s Creek” was the most-streamed program on the four services measured by Nielsen for the second consecutive week, with viewers watching 1.456 billion minutes of the comedy’s 80 episodes between Oct. 5-11.

The nine-episode Netflix horror series “The Haunting of Bly Manor” was second among programming streamed on Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu and Netflix, with viewers watching 1.175 billion minutes in the first three days it was available.