Chris Cuomo's Suspension Caps CNN's Nightmare Year

The suspension of one of CNN's most prominent hosts, Chris Cuomo, tops off a difficult year of ratings decline for the network. Rival network, Fox News, is winning the 2021 ratings war easily beating out competition from CNN and MSNBC.

According to figures compiled by Nielsen and published by Forbes, Fox News achieved an average prime time audience of 2.578 million viewers in November with CNN reaching just 654,000 viewers in the same time period.

CNN has seen its ratings drop considerably since this time last year. In fact, Nielsen's stats say the channel's ratings dropped a dramatic 77 percent from one year ago. Notably, Fox News beat CNN by more than 240 percent in prime time total viewers and by 150 percent in prime time within the key demographic of adults aged 25 to 54, according to Nielsen figures released by Fox.

In this demographic—highly valuable to advertisers—Fox News finished first with an average audience of 420,000 viewers while CNN trailed in second with 148,000 viewers on average.

Overall, ratings are down across the board, including Fox, but their drop has not been as significant as rivals CNN and MSNBC.

In October, Fox News celebrated its 25th anniversary with its ratings crushing their competition with a trajectory to finish 2021 as the most-watched network across all of basic cable for the sixth straight year. In the same month, CNN averaged just 487,000 total viewers, down 65 percent from October 2020.

This drop rounds off a bad year for the network which is now contending with the Cuomo scandal and the reputation damage that will cause. Chris Cuomo was suspended indefinitely from the network this week for aiding his brother Andrew Cuomo in forming a defense against sexual harassment allegations while he was governor of New York.

"The New York Attorney General's office released transcripts and exhibits Monday that shed new light on Chris Cuomo's involvement in his brother's defense," a CNN spokesperson said in a statement.

"The documents, which we were not privy to before their public release, raise serious questions. When Chris admitted to us that he had offered advice to his brother's staff, he broke our rules and we acknowledged that publicly," the statement continues.

"But we also appreciated the unique position he was in and understood his need to put family first and job second. However, these documents point to a greater level of involvement in his brother's efforts than we previously knew. As a result, we have suspended Chris indefinitely, pending further evaluation."

Following his suspension, Chris Cuomo has labeled the situation "embarrassing."

"I've been suspended from CNN. You know this already. It hurts to even say it," he said during an appearance on his SiriusXM show on Wednesday, per NBC.

"It's embarrassing, but I understand it. And I understand why some people feel the way they do about what I did. I've apologized in the past. I mean it. It's the last thing I ever wanted to do was compromise any of my colleagues. And do anything but help.

"I know they have a process that they think is important. I respect that process. So I'm not going to talk about this any more than that. So for right now, let's just get after it, and there's plenty to do on that score."

CNN
Chris Cuomo attends the 12th Annual CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute at American Museum of Natural History on December 9, 2018 in New York City. Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for CNN