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May 2012 Ratings: CNN Hits 20-Year Low

As expected, based on reports throughout the month, it was a rough May ratings-wise for CNN, with the network hitting a 20-year low in primetime.

The ratings for May, 2012:

  • Primetime (Mon-Sun): 389K Total Viewers / 114K A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 288K Total Viewers / 84K A25-54

In Total Viewers in primetime, CNN hit a 20-year low, and in the key adults 25-54 demo, CNN had its second-worst month in primetime  since 1991. May sweeps on the broadcast networks and a generally slow news month contributed to CNN’s decline. But sweeps happen every year, and while it was a slow month, it probably wasn’t the slowest news month in 20 years.

Compared to May, 2011, CNN was down -51% in Total Viewers and down -57% in the demo in primetime and down -52% in Total Viewers and down -61% in the demo in total day. Of course, last May was a big news month, the death of Osama bin Laden, and deadly tornadoes in Alabama and Missouri, which inflated the ratings for all of the news channels.

While essentially every CNN program was down double-digits, 9pmET, which is home to “Piers Morgan Tonight,” and 7pmET, which is home to “Erin Burnett OutFront,” each had their worst performance in the demo in 20 years.

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