CNN’s second quarter ratings dropped tremendously this year, making it the network’s lowest since 1991.

Viewership on all three news networks- MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News, were dramatically lower this year between March 26 and June 22 when compared to last year’s ratings. 

During primetime hours CNN attracted approximately 446,000 viewers with 129,000 viewers categorized in the 25-54 age range. This is down 35-percent and 41-percent respectively when compared to the second quarter of 2011.

This year, Fox News averaged 1.79 million primetime viewers which is down 1% from last year’s reports. However, Fox has lost 14% of viewers within the 25-54 demographic.

MSNBC experienced a 13% dip in ratings with an average of 689,000 total viewers. The network’s 25-54 audience dropped 17%.

This Monday’s reports showed no progress in rakings for CNN.  Fox News averaged 1.96 million primetime viewers, MSNBC averaged 997,000, and CNN finished last with 362,000 viewers.

Despite the low numbers, CNN maintains its reputation as a veteran network with strong international ratings.

CNN’s most popular programs like Anderson Cooper 360 at 8p.m. and Piers Morgan at 9p.m. did not experience a large drop in ratings. However, their time slots did show a decline when compared to last year’s numbers.

CNN recently cancelled the 6p.m. John King show and has plans to extend Wolf Blitzer’s “Situation Room” for another hour. CNN’s sister station, Headline News (HLN) occasionally shows a spring in ratings overarching its predecessor. Recently, Nancy Grace brought in more viewers than Cooper and Dr. Drew brought in higher ratings than Morgan.

In light of the approaching Republican primaries and the buzz surrounding the general election, networks are on edge regarding the decline in news viewership.

Regardless of the drop in ratings, Fox continues to hold the top slots for political content with the O’Reilly Factor coming in at No. 1 and the Sean Hannity Show at No. 2.

MSNBC is staying optimistic about their second place in the market of network news.

Current TV, an alternative news network is also fighting for a presence among the network heavyweights.

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