Basic Cable Network Rankings: Week of March 4

By Jason Lynch 

Two weeks ago, the one-two punch of  President Trump’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam, plus daytime coverage of Michael Cohen’s testimony, helped propel Fox News Channel, MSNBC and CNN to the three most-watched cable networks in total day viewing (6 a.m.-6 a.m.). Without those events this week, CNN lost ground to HGTV, Nickelodeon and Investigation Discovery last week.

Fox News was No. 1 among all basic cable networks in total viewers in both total day (for the ninth week in a row) and prime time (for the eighth straight week).

In addition to wins among total viewers, Fox News also beat its cable news competition in the A25-54 demo.

  • Fox News – Prime time (371,000) and total day (234,000)
  • MSNBC – Prime time (341,000) and total day (180,000)
  • CNN – Prime time (242,000) and Total Day (169,000)

Fox News was up 1 percent in total prime viewers and up 2 percent in total day viewers versus the comparable week in 2018, but the network saw year over year demo declines of 18 percent in prime and 15 percent in total day.

MSNBC, which was No. 2 in both total day and prime among total viewers, saw its total audience increase year over year—total day was up 9 percent and prime was up 7 percent—but, like Fox News, had double-digit demo losses: prime fell 14 percent and total day was down 17 percent.

CNN had year over year declines across the board. In total viewers, prime fell 16 percent and total day was down 9 percent, and the network saw hefty demo drops: prime was down 30 percent and total day fell 26 percent.

Here are the business TV news numbers for the week, per Nielsen live-plus-same-day data:

Business Day (9:30 a.m.–5 p.m. ET)

  • Fox Business Network: 161,000 total viewers and 21,ooo A25-54
  • CNBC: 181,000 total viewers and 36,000 A25-54

And here’s a look  at the basic cable top 10, followed by a lengthier list of basic cable network performance, ranked by total viewers.

Basic Cable Top 10 (Prime Time)

  1. Fox News (2,324,000)
  2. MSNBC (1,986,000)
  3. HGTV (1,328,000)
  4. ESPN (1,287,000)
  5. USA (1,205,000)
  6. History (1,170,000)
  7. Discovery (1,135,000)
  8. TLC (1,062,000)
  9. TBS (1,009,000)
  10. A&E (1,006,000)

Basic Cable Top 10 (Total Day)

  1. Fox News (1,385,000)
  2. MSNBC (1,087,000)
  3. HGTV (767,000)
  4. Nickelodeon (767,000)
  5. Investigation Discovery (698,000)
  6. CNN (639,000)
  7. USA (623,000)
  8. ESPN (615,000)
  9. History (582,000)
  10. Food Network (567,000)

Basic Cable Ranker Week of 3-4-19 by TVNewser on Scribd