2018 Ratings: Fox News Is the Most-Watched Network on Cable for the Third Straight Year

By A.J. Katz 

In 2018, Fox News averaged its largest prime time audience in the 22-year history of the network; and for the third year in a row, finished as the most-watched network on cable television and the fifth-most-watched network across broadcast and cable.

In a joint statement on the network’s record ratings, FNC’s CEO Suzanne Scott and FNC’s President Jay Wallace said, “Fox News continues to outperform other basic cable networks, proving once again that our news coverage and premiere team of journalists and opinion hosts are the best in the business. With the recent launch of Fox Nation, an increased focus on digital and the strong ratings momentum we have built, we are confident that 2019 will offer our loyal viewers even more ways to engage with Fox News.”

Despite those great prime time total viewer numbers, Fox News posted year-over-year audience losses across the 24-hour time period, with the most severe being in the younger demographics. MSNBC and CNN also posted losses among younger news consumers, so this trend wasn’t unique to FNC.


Versus its 2017 year-end ratings, Fox News was +1 percent in total prime time viewers, yet -5 percent in the prime time demo, -5 percent in total day viewers and -12 percent in the total day demo.

Below are the final 2018 Nielsen live+same-day numbers:

  • Prime Time (Mon-Sun): 2,434,000 Total Viewers / 463,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun):  1,425,000 Total Viewers / 282,000 A25-54

Moving over to Fox News programming – In cable news, FNC secured 10 of the top 15 programs in total viewers, as well as 8 of the top 15 spots among the 25-54 demo.

Standing out, Sean Hannity, host of the No. 1 cable news program for the second consecutive year with 3.2 million viewers (+16 percent), and 632,000 A25-54 viewers (+9 percent).

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show finished No. 2 across cable news for 2018, but her’s was followed by a slew of Fox News shows, including Tucker Carlson Tonight (No. 3), The Ingraham Angle (No. 4) The Five (No. 5), and Special Report with Bret Baier (No. 6).

Moving to daytime, the second year of Outnumbered Overtime with Harris Faulkner delivered 1,470,000 total viewers and 282,000 with the 25-54 demo; No. 1 in its time period.

Fox & Friends finished ahead of Morning Joe and New Day, averaging 1.52 million total viewers and 324,000 in the 25-54 demo.

Nielsen Cable News Ratings for 2018 (01/01/18-12/30/18) vs. 2017 (12/26/16-12/31/17)


Fox News: 2,434,000 total viewers (+1 percent); 463,000 A25-54 (-5 percent)

CNN: 988,000 total viewers (-6 percent); 323,000 A25-54 (-12 percent)

MSNBC: 1,802,000 total viewers (+10 percent); 352,000 A25-54 (-5 percent)

Total Day:

Fox News: 1,425,000 total viewers (-5 percent); 282,000 A25-54 (-12 percent)

CNN: 706,000 total viewers (-9 percent); 214,000 A25-54 (-16 percent)

MSNBC: 994,000 total viewers (+12 percent); 197,000 A25-54 (-3 percent)