The liberal network spent years attacking former President Donald Trump and the network thrived during his final days in office amid a brief post-election spike. CNN averaged 2.2 million viewers during the first three weeks of 2021, but it has averaged just one million viewers since Biden took office, a staggering decline of 54 percent.
CNN’s struggles are even more prominent among the key advertising demographic of adults age 25-54, with a drop of 60 percent. It averaged 617,000 demo viewers from Dec. 28 through Inauguration Day but only 244,000 since Biden entered the White House.
CNN’s liberal primetime hosts Anderson Cooper, Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon haven’t been able to keep their audiences under the new administration, either.
CNN averaged 3.1 million viewers from 8-11 p.m. from Dec. 28 through Inauguration Day but only 1.4 million since for a whopping 55-percent decline. Over the same time period, CNN’s primetime lineup lost 63 percent of its viewers among the crucial demo.
While January was a jam-packed news month with the Capitol riots and Trump challenging the 2020 election results, CNN’s mass exodus was significant even when compared to liberal MSNBC.
MSNBC lost 34 percent of its total-day viewers and 30 percent during primetime under Biden, while Fox News has retained most of its audience with single-digit declines.
CNN’s major viewership decline would typically be the sort of thing to alarm staffers, but Lemon said he cares more about who is in the White House than the success of his network.
During an interview on the New York Times podcast "Sway," host Kara Swisher asked Lemon if he was "worried about the viewership fizzle."
"No. I’m not worried about it ... Trump was a horrible person. And he was terrible for the country. And it is better for all — for the world that he is no longer the President of the United States," Lemon said. "So if that means that cable news ratings go down? Aww. So I’m not really that concerned about it. I would prefer that my ratings go down and Trump not be in office than my ratings be sky-high and him be there. That’s the honest truth."
Fox News is on pace to be the most-watched cable news network for the second month in a row among both total day and primetime viewers.
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.