2017 Ratings: Fox News Is Most-Watched Cable Network For Second Consecutive Year

By A.J. Katz 

For the second year in a row, Fox News was the most-watched cable television network. FNC posted double digit growth in total day and its 1.5 million viewer average is the network’s largest average audience on a 24-hour basis since it launched in 1996.

And the blockbuster ratings came despite the departures of the network’s two biggest stars.

Below are 2017 Nielsen live+same-day numbers through December 24:

  • Primetime (Mon-Sun): 2,421,000 Total Viewers /  486,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 1,501,000 Total Viewers /  320,000 A25-54

The year began with the stunning departure of Fox News prime time host, Megyn Kelly, who left Fox News for NBC News. In the spring, Kelly’s lead-in, cable TV’s most-watched personality for two decades, Bill O’Reilly, exited due to sexual harassment complaints. Those departures, and others, set off a host of programming changes that continued into October.

“Throughout this past year, Fox News has continued to prove its dominance in the television landscape despite many changes and one of the most intense news years on record,” said Fox News programming president Suzanne Scott.

Fox News was flat in prime time viewers, but was up +1 percent in the ad-friendly adults 25-54 demo compared to 2016.

“For a news channel to experience growth following an election year is unprecedented and we are grateful to our loyal viewers for once again making us the most-watched network in all of cable,” Scott added.

The network’s juggernaut morning program, Fox & Friends, had its most-watched year in network history, averaging nearly 1.6 million total viewers (up +25 percent from 2016).

Other daytime programs which won their respective hours include Outnumbered Overtime with Harris Faulker, which averaged 1.59 million total viewers at 1 p.m. and The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino, which averaged 1.56 million total viewers at 2 p.m.

At 5 p.m., The Five averaged 2.7 million total viewers and 475,000 in A25-54. At 6 p.m., the network’s political news program Special Report with Bret Baier averaged 2.4 million total viewers and 444,000 in the A25-54. At 7 p.m. ET, The Story with Martha MacCallum delivered 2.1 million total viewers and 413,000 in A25-54.

Then there’s the network’s signature prime time daypart. For the first time in network history, Hannity topped all of cable news with 3.18 million viewers and 645,000 in A25-54. That’s double digit growth versus 2016.

At 8 p.m., Tucker Carlson Tonight was the second-most watched program for the year in total viewers with 2.7 million viewers and averaged 540,000 with A25-54.  At 10 p.m., The Ingraham Angle, ranked No. 5 in total viewers with 2.5 million and No. 4 with A25-54 since it launched back in the fall.