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CNN ratings crater in May despite bump from Trump town hall

CNN ratings crater in May despite bump from Trump town hall

CNN posted a whopping 25% decline in primetime ratings in May compared to last year — even as the struggling network got a boost in viewership from its controversial town hall with former President Donald Trump during the month.

The Chris Licht-run news channel reeled in 494,000 average total viewers in primetime in May– and just 113,000 viewers in the key 25-54-year-old demographic, according to Nielsen.

May marked CNN’s lowest-rated month since March, which had the lowest viewership since April 2015.

The paltry May figures came despite CNN hauling in 3.3 million viewers from its May 10 Trump town hall hosted by correspondent Kaitlan Collins.

However, viewers peeled off in the second part of the month, pulling down the primetime ratings by 16% as compared to the previous month, according to Nielsen.

“Anderson Cooper 360” was the network’s most-watched show in May with 646,000 total viewers, the ratings agency reported.

CNN’s town hall with Trump hosted by Collins gave the network a ratings jump but it turned off the network’s core audience in the days following the broadcast.

Compared to shows on rival cable news networks, however, Cooper’s 8 pm program held its dismal place as the 27th most-watched cable news show overall.

For context, Fox News had seven out of the top 10 shows led by “The Five” with 2.6 million total viewers. MSNBC’s most watched show was “The Rachel Maddow Show,” which reeled in 2.3 million total viewers.

Overall, CNN trailed MSNBC, which earned a second-place ranking with 1.2 million prime time viewers and 120,000 demo viewers.

Although Fox News’ viewership took a hit from Tucker Carlson’s firing in April, the network held its top ranking with 1.4 million viewers and 135,000 viewers in the demo.

CNN boss Licht is trying to pivot the network’s left-leaning coverage to be more non-partisan.
Getty Images for Semafor

While CNN has consistently trailed both Fox and MSNBC this year, the network has been particularly under pressure as it has been attempting to pivot from its left-leaning coverage during the Trump administration.

But that has seemingly come at the expense of its core audience.

In recent weeks, Newsmax–a conservative cable network outlier–has topped CNN in several time slots — particularly with Eric Bolling beating Cooper’s main show, “AC306,” at 8 p.m.

Bolling’s ratings boost follows Carlson’s exit from Fox as well as the continued fallout from CNN’s controversial Donald Trump town hall.

Newsmax also beat CNN last Friday when its 10 pm show guest hosted by Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz edged out “The Whole Story With Anderson Cooper,” an in-depth special program from star anchor Cooper.

Gaetz drew 282,000 viewers when he sat in for Greg Kelly last Friday to Cooper’s 249,000 viewers.

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