CNN Scores Big New Year’s Eve Win In Cable News Ratings

CNN had a fairly lousy 2022, but the network’s live coverage of New Year’s Eve ended the year with a solid win in the Nielsen ratings, delivering a total audience of 2.1 million viewers between 8 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. ET. New Year’s Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen easily outdistanced the Fox News Channel, which had a total audience of 1.2 million viewers, followed by MSNBC (a distant third with 194,000 viewers).

CNN’s long-running New Year’s show has traditionally featured news talent like Cooper, Don Lemon and others drinking on air, but the network’s new bosses put an end to that. The on-camera alcohol ban may have taken some of the fun and spontaneity out of the broadcast, but it still was a strong performer ratings-wise. In the key demo of adults 25-54—the demographic group most valued by advertisers—CNN averaged 806,000 viewers, followed by Fox News (159,000 viewers) and MSNBC (37,000 viewers).

CNN’s audience grew as the year rolled into its final hour, with 3.0 million viewers watching between 11 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. ET. Fox News was second with 1.5 million viewers and MSNBC trailed with 169,000 viewers. In the key demo, CNN was first with 1.2 million viewers, followed by Fox News (256,000 viewers) and MSNBC (42,000 viewers).

CNN’s live coverage grew from New Year’s Eve one year ago, up 8% in the key demo, while the holiday coverage on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox News all showed year-over-year declines.

After two years of pandemic-impacted celebrations, the Times Square ball drop was back at full capacity, with an estimated crowd of one million people—and a billion watching the scene on live television around the world.