Basic Cable Ranker: Week of April 8

By A.J. Katz 

Fox News Channel continued to breeze past the competition as the most-watched basic cable network across total day and prime time, winning the week of April 8th through April 14th, according to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data.

FNC delivered 1.3 million viewers, No. 1 in total day for the 14th consecutive week, and 241,000 in the 25-54 demo. In prime time, FNC delivered 2.4 million viewers and 394,000 in the 25-54 demo.

Among all of cable broadcasts, FNC claimed nine of the top 20 spots, including presentations of Tucker Carlson Tonight, The Ingraham Angle and Hannity. In total viewers, Hannity even outpaced ESPN’s coverage of the Masters on Friday and NBA Playoffs on TNT among total viewers.


HGTV, USA and TBS rounded out the top five in total prime time cable audience last week. Nickelodeon, Investigation Discovery and HGTV were No. 3, No. 4, and No. 5 in total day viewing.

CNN had its lowest-rated week of the year in prime time, while MSNBC had its second lowest-rated week of the year in the 25-54 demo and its third lowest among total viewers in prime time.

Yes, Fox News and MSNBC are consistently the two-most-watched basic cable networks, but they, along with CNN, are losing viewers relative to 2018.

In prime time, Fox News was -8% in total viewers, MSNBC was -28% in total viewers, while CNN was -47% vs. the comparable week in 2018. In the A25-54 demo, FNC was -29%, MSNBC -48% and CBS -58% vs. the comparable week last year.

In total day, FNC -12% in total viewers, MSNBC was -20% while CNN was -41% in total viewers. In the 25-54 demo, Fox was -27%, MSNBC was -43% while CNN was -52% vs. the same week in 2018.

FNC, MSNBC and CNN were the three-most-watched basic cable networks among total day viewers that week, and each finished among basic cable’s 10-most-watched during prime time. There was major tune-in on the comparable Friday night last year as President Trump announced coalition airstrikes in Syria, which delivered all of the networks, particularly CNN, larger-than-usual audiences.

Here are the top five for the week of April 8, per Nielsen:

Basic Cable Top 5 – Prime Time (Total Viewers)
1. Fox News (2,438,000)
2. MSNBC (1,600,000)
3. HGTV (1,199,000)
4. USA (1,133,000)
5.  TBS (1,040,000)

Basic Cable Top 5 –  Total Day (Total Viewers)
1. FNC (1,346,000)
2. MSNBC (899,000)
3. Nickelodeon (682,000)
4. ID (680,000)
5.  HGTV (675,000)

Basic cable ranker: Week of April 8 (Total Viewers)