Basic Cable Ranker: Week of April 29

By A.J. Katz 

The NBA on TNT & ESPN and the NHL Playoffs on NBCSN were (and still are) in their respective conference semifinal rounds. However, it’s a non-sports network that managed to finish last week No. 1 in total prime time viewers: Fox News.

In addition to winning in prime time, FNC was the most-watched cable network for the week of April 29 in total day, per Nielsen live-plus-same-day data. This marks 17 straight weeks now that FNC has averaged the most total viewers of any cable network during the 6 a.m. – 6 a.m. daypart.

In total day, Fox News delivered 1.4 million viewers, which is +4% vs. the comparable week in 2018, and 241,000 in the 25-54 demo, which is -11% vs. the comparable week last year. In prime time, Fox News garnered 2.5 million total viewers, +6% from last year, and 396,000 demo viewers, which is -12% vs. the comparable week last year.


Most notably, FNC was the most-watched cable news network for live coverage of Attorney General William Barr’s hearing from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. ET. The coverage drew 2.2 million viewers and 304,000 in the 25-54 demo, beating both CNN and MSNBC across the board.

In addition, presentations of Hannity, Tucker Carlson Tonight, and The Ingraham Angle claimed 11 of the 25-most-watched cable telecasts overall in total viewers. Hannity made up the top two most-watched non-sports cable telecasts for the week.

MSNBC finished No. 3 in total prime time viewers and No. 2 in total day viewers this past week. The network’s 1.75 million prime time viewer delivery is even versus the comparable week last year, and its 984,000 total day viewers figure is +2% vs. last year. The story was very different when it came to adults 25-54. Compared to last year, MSNBC was -24% in the prime time demo, and -28% in the total day demo.

CNN was a top 10 basic cable network last week in total day viewers (No. 8). However, it had a rough week in prime time. Especially in the prime time demo. CNN averaged 184,000 demo viewers in prime time, -36% vs. the comparable week last year. The network was also -12% in total viewers from last year.

Here are the top ten basic cable networks of last week, ranked by total viewers.


  1. Fox News (2,502,000)
  2. TNT (2,321,000)
  3. MSNBC (1,754,000)
  4. ESPN (1,579,000)
  5. HGTV (1,205,000)
  6. A&E (1,170,000)
  7. NBCSN (1,136,000)
  8. USA (1,040,000)
  9. History (1,015,000)
  10. TBS (1,015,000)

TOTAL DAY (6a – 6a)

  1. Fox News (1,413,000)
  2. MSNBC (984,000)
  3. TNT (824,000)
  4. HGTV (691,000)
  5. Nickelodeon (667,000)
  6. Investigation Discovery (659,000)
  7. ESPN (598,000)
  8. A&E (569,000)
  9. CNN (569,000)
  10. USA (526,000)

Basic cable ranker: Week of April 29 (Total Viewers)