October 2012 was a big one for cable news, thanks in large part to the Presidential debates, and the final leg of the campaign. The debates help boost programs, generating a “halo effect” that had an impact on the top cable news programs. Fox News Channel led the way as usual, scoring the top nine programs in total viewers, and the top three in the demo. MSNBC’s strong performance help propel a few of its programs toward the top of the ranker for the month.
“The O’Reilly Factor” was the number one program on Fox News and cable news overall in total viewers. In the demo however, it was “Hannity” that claimed the top spot, with “O’Reilly placing third behind “On the Record.” “O’Reilly” averaged 3.92 million total viewers, while “Hannity” drew 856,000 demo viewers for the month.
On MSNBC, “The Rachel Maddow Show” led the way in both total and demo viewers in October. Maddow placed 10th overall in total viewers, and fourth overall in the demo, behind “Hannity,” “On the Record” and “O’Reilly.” Maddow drew 1.57 million total viewers, and 538,000 demo viewers.
The most watched program on CNN was “Piers Morgan Tonight,” which placed 22nd overall in total viewers with 575,000/ The most watched CNN program in the demo was the 8 PM edition of “AC360,” which edged out “PMT” with 177,000 viewers A25-54.
The most watched program on Fox Business network by far was “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” which averaged 172,000 total viewers and 53,000 demo viewers. Dobbs topped CNBC’s “Kudlow Report” in both total viewers and the demo for the first time in October. CNBC’s most-watched program was “Squawk on the Street,” which averaged 240,000 total viewers and 66,000 demo viewers.
The cable program rankers are below.