The Fox News Channel chyron declared “Red Wave Rising” as the network’s Jeanine Pirro — during the Tuesday, June 28 broadcast of Fox’s The Five — opined that Democrats are set to face a reckoning at the polls soon. As proof, she cited a new Associated Press report that notes more than 1 million voters have switched their registration to the GOP, in a massive demographic shift driven by suburban swing voters frustrated by everything from inflation to crime and shortages of key consumer staples. “The change is happening all across the country,” Pirro told viewers.
Non-Fox audiences, meanwhile, might have felt a little befuddled had they stopped scrolling through social media or watching a different network in order to switch over to Fox. It certainly seemed, for much of the day on June 28, that there was really only one story that was transfixing news consumers — the explosive Jan. 6 committee testimony given by Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
The picture Hutchinson methodically laid out, among other things, revealed a president even more volatile than his enemies and critics had already perceived him to be. A dish-throwing rageaholic who flipped tablecloths in fits of anger; who allegedly tried to choke a Secret Service agent; who knew there were weapons among the Jan. 6 rioters; and on, and on.
“lol no one is watching this,” the official House Judiciary GOP account tweeted around mid-day, as Hutchinson’s testimony dominated the news cycle.
Less than an hour later? Fox News chimed in, announcing that not only did it close out the second quarter as the top-rated cable network for both primetime as well as dayside programming. But there were also multiple new records set, including for Fox’s 5 pm ET panel show The Five.
In short, just hours before Pirro delivered her remarks about Democrats in trouble at the polls, Fox announced that The Five is now the first non-primetime program to top all of cable news for three consecutive quarters. That’s the first time such a feat has been accomplished in cable news history.
During the second quarter, The Five averaged 3.3 million viewers and 461,000 in the key 25-54 age demographic highly valued by advertisers. For comparison, that average surpassed the same metric for every show on CNN and MSNBC. Data from Nielsen Media Research also shows that in terms of total viewership The Five beat plenty of non-cable news programming during the quarter — everything from the NBA playoffs on TNT to The Today Show and Good Morning America.
Among other highlights of the quarter, the period marked the 82nd consecutive quarter that Fox News Channel found itself the top-rated primetime cable news channel. For the fifth consecutive quarter, the network was also #1 in all of basic cable on the basis of total day viewership — in addition to 96 of the top 100 cable news telecasts during the quarter belonging to Fox.
One additional point that’s often overlooked: Fox’s overall ratings dominance means that, correspondingly, the network is also increasingly a go-to destination for viewers during breaking news (long considered the hallmark of CNN), which played out during the second quarter in the form of Fox leading CNN during coverage of everything from the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, to the Supreme Court’s overturning of the landmark Roe vs. Wade precedent.
One asterisk to that breaking news coverage during the quarter concerns the Jan. 6 committee hearings, with Fox News Channel making the decision to stick with its regular shows for the first public hearing and to move live coverage to other platforms including Fox Business Network as well as the Fox Nation streaming service. Fox News Channel did, however, air the committee’s subsequent hearings as they unfolded each day.