NEW YORK — The trajectory of the conservative network Newsmax is a clear example of how statistics can tell different stories, depending on how you look at them.
After former President Trump suggested post-Election Day that his fans check Newsmax out, the network's daily viewership average shot up to nearly 275,000 last November, the Nielsen company said. In the period between President Biden's inauguration and mid-March, Newsmax averaged 207,400 viewers — a 24% decrease.
Pull back a little further, however, and consider Newsmax's average of 57,800 viewers last October. Compared to that month, the post-inauguration viewership is up 259%. It's up 533% over last September.
In other words, a majority — although not all — of the curious viewers from last November have stuck around.
“I think we're in a very, very strong position,” said Chris Ruddy, Newsmax founder and CEO. “We've consolidated a lot of our success over the last 90 days.”
Newsmax can see a difference in the prominence of its guests, he said. The network is looking to expand and will soon add six hours of live programming on Sunday. It has signed Steve Cortes, a former CNN contributor and adviser to the Trump campaign, to host a future show and conservative personality Sebastian Gorka will host a weekend show, Ruddy said.
Since the fevered post-election days, viewership is down at all of the news networks. CNN's full-day average between Biden's inauguration and mid-March was 34% lower than the period after Election Day to the inauguration, Nielsen said. MSNBC went down 15% and Fox News Channel was down 8%.
By virtue of keeping more of its audience than its rivals, Fox regained the top spot in the ratings after briefly dipping to third in January.
Last week in prime time, Fox News averaged 2.33 million viewers, MSNBC had 1.58 million and CNN had 1.13 million, Nielsen said.
CBS was the top broadcast entertainment network last week, averaging 4.5 million viewers in prime time. ABC had 3.6 million, NBC had 2.9 million, Fox had 2 million, Univision had 1.4 million, Ion Television had 1.1 million and Telemundo had 930,000.
The three cable news networks were in cable's top five, along with TBS, which averaged 2.75 million viewers with the help of the NCAA basketball tournament last week, and HGTV had 1.17 million.
ABC's “World News Tonight” led the evening news race with an average of 8.4 million viewers, NBC's “Nightly News” had 6.9 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 5 million.
For the week of March 22-28, the 20 most-watched programs in prime time, their networks and viewerships:
1. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 9.18 million.
2. “The Equalizer,” CBS, 7.4 million.
3. “The Voice” (Monday, 8 p.m.), NBC, 7.06 million.
4. NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament: UCLA vs. Alabama, TBS, 6.51 million.
5. “Blue Bloods,” CBS, 6.39 million.
6. “American Idol” (Sunday), ABC, 6.17 million.
7. NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament: Oral Roberts vs. Arkansas, TBS, 5.94 million.
8. NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament: LSU vs. Michigan, CBS, 5.88 million.
9. “NCAA Studio Show" (Saturday), TBS, 5.75 million.
10. “America's Funniest Home Videos,” ABC, 5.704 million.
11. “NCIS,” CBS, 5.698 million.
12. “Magnum, P.I.,” CBS, 5.62 million.
13. “NCIS: Los Angeles,” CBS, 5.57 million.
14. NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament: Syracuse vs. Houston, TBS, 5.52 million.
15. “The Masked Singer,” Fox, 5.21 million.
16. “This is Us,” NBC, 5.16 million.
17. “The Voice” (Monday, 9 p.m.), NBC, 5.14 million.
18. “Station 19,” ABC, 5.05 million.
19. “Grey's Anatomy,” ABC, 5.01 million.
20. “American Idol” (Monday), ABC, 4.94 million.
David Bauder, The Associated Press