Following a tumultuous few months in Washington, things are returning to normal in the broadcasting world, as CNN's ratings tank and Fox News's are on the rise.
January was a tough month for Fox News. The U.S. Capitol was stormed in January just before the inauguration of Joe Biden, whose election win remains contested and suspect to many. Then President Trump was impeached in absentia in January, and viewers flocked to MSNBC and CNN, where the liberal outlets bested Fox News for the first time in 19 years.
But by the last week of March, Curtis Houck of the Media Research Center (MRC) says Fox had reasserted itself as the king of the hill.
"The idol worship of Donald Trump and the hate-watching is over with," he tells One News Now. "People now have to find something else to do with their lives, and CNN just isn't that interesting."
Tucker Carlson climbed back to the top of his timeslot, and Gutfeld, a new late-night contender, shot to the front of the class on its first night. Host Greg Gutfeld, in his inaugural monologue, skewered his competition.
"The only time Stephen Colbert ruffles feathers is in a pillow fight," Houck adds. "The definition of 'risk' to [Jimmy] Kimmel is dehydration from crying too much. [Jimmy] Fallon -- that guy fawns more than a herd of deer."
But Houck says the network is a one-trick pony and is unlikely to change course.
"They're continuing to go the activist route on things like the Georgia voting bill and policing and Biden's infrastructure plan that's not really about infrastructure," the MRC spokesman notes.
Another source of contention is what CNN's Brianna Keilar calls Fox News's "disinformation experiment," or skepticism about the safety and efficacy COVID-19 vaccines. Even though a CNN staffer was recently caught on camera admitting that his network is a source of propaganda, its on-air personalities continue to accuse Fox News of propagating misinformation.
So Houck expects the network will continue hemorrhaging viewers "because that's not what people are interested in."