With the final 2012 ratings now in, we can take a look back at what the most-watched cable news programs were in 2012. Note that this does not include special programming like elections or debates, just regularly scheduled shows.
The number one show on cable news in both total viewers and the key demo of adults 25-54 was “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News. The program averaged 2.96 million total viewers in 2012, including 572,000 A25-54. All told, FNC had the top 11 programs in total viewers, and the top seven in the demo, with “Hannity,” “Special Report,” “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren” and “The Five” rounding out the top five.
The top program on MSNBC in both categories was 9 PM’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” which averaged 1.16 million total viewers, including 337,000 demo viewers. Maddow placed eigth overall in the demo, and 12th in total viewers, making it the most-watched cable news show not on FNC.
CNN’s top program in total viewers was “Piers Morgan Tonight,” which averaged 584,000 viewers, placing it 21st overall. In the demo, the 10 PM airing of “AC360” was tops, averaging 198,000 viewers, good for 20th overall.
HLN’s top show in both categories was “Nancy Grace,” which averaged 418,000 and 134,000 viewers in 2012. CNBC’s top program was “Squawk On The Street,” which averaged 267,000 total viewers and 69,000 demo viewers. FBN’s top show was “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” which averaged 137,000 total viewers and 38,000 demo viewers.
The full total and demo viewer rankers are below.