The news cycle has hardly slowed down since President Joe Biden took office, but CNN doesn't appear to be reaping the benefits.
CNN had a dismal September, failing to reach 1 million viewers on any of its programs for 23 out of the 30 days in the month, equating to a staggering 77% of the time according to Nielsen data.
Last September, in the final weeks of the 2020 election, CNN averaged 950,000 total day viewers. This September, the network averaged just 557,000, a 41% drop. Primetime viewership was virtually cut in half during the same time period from a 1.5 million average to just 770,000.
"Anderson Cooper: 360" performed the strongest of CNN's weak primetime shows last month. The program reached 1 million viewers six times in September, averaging 916,000 viewers, a 41% decrease from his 1.55-million average in September 2020.
By comparison, Fox News' "Tucker Carlson Tonight" averaged a whopping 3.3 million viewers and MSNBC's "All In with Chris Hayes" averaged 1.3 million in the 8 p.m. ET timeslot. Neither show ever fell under 1 million viewers during the same time period.
"Cuomo Prime Time," once CNN's most-watched show, trailed behind Anderson Cooper, reaching 1 million viewers just twice last month and averaging 874,000 viewers. Fox News' "Hannity" averaged 2.9 million during the same 9 p.m. ET timeslot, while MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" averaged 2.3 million, both never falling below 1 million.
CNN's embattled anchor Chris Cuomo lost nearly half his viewers since last year when he averaged 1.65 million viewers.
Cuomo was recently accused by veteran TV producer Shelley Ross of sexually harassing her in 2005 during their time at ABC News. The "Cuomo Prime Time" host was previously swept up in multiple scandals plaguing his brother, ex-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D.
Cuomo's handoff buddy Don Lemon also shed 47% of his viewers from last year, going from a 1.36 million-viewer average to 742,000. Lemon never reached 1 million viewers during the entire month, coming in a distant third against Fox News' "The Ingraham Angle" and MSNBC's "The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell." The latter shows averaged 2.4 and 1.5 million viewers respectively and always maintained seven-digit viewership.
CNN's daytime programming did not fare any better. Dayside anchor Jake Tapper never reached 1 million viewers in September. His program "The Lead" certainly did not lead in the ratings, suffering a 44% drop from his 1.3 million viewer average last year to his weak 737,000 average this year.
The network's morning program "New Day" did not experience as significant of a decline, though it has long been one of CNN's least-viewed shows in the entire lineup. The John Berman-Brianna Keilar duo averaged below half a million viewers, slipping 29% from a 609,000 average when Berman was paired with Alisyn Camerota last September to just 429,000 this September.
CNN's left-wing media guru Brian Stelter similarly spent all of September below 1 million viewers as his Sunday show "Reliable Sources" averaged just 738,000 viewers, falling 20% from his 924,000 average in September 2020.
Stelter has only exceeded 1 million viewers twice since March, one of them being the breaking news coverage of billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic space flight in July, the other being in August amid the Biden administration's chaotic military withdrawal from Afghanistan. His audience has dropped 59% since January and shed 18% of his August viewership.
The network's awful September followed a disastrous summer. Over the course of 92 days from June 1 through August 31, CNN failed to reach 1 million viewers on 53 of them, roughly 58% of the summer. It averaged just 603,000 in total day viewership, a staggering 42% decrease from the summer of 2020.
Fox News' Brian Flood contributed to this report.