Basic Cable Ranker: Week of December 11

By A.J. Katz 

Another week, another solid ratings performance for Fox News.

FNC topped the basic cable landscape in total day viewers, and posted +1 percent growth in the daypart versus the same week in 2016.

The network took third place in prime time behind ESPN and Hallmark Channel, two networks that traditionally thrive in the ratings department this time of year.

Despite a third place finish, Fox News posted +4 percent year-over-year growth. The beleaguered, yet top-ranked ESPN also posted +4 percent prime time growth.

Once again, Fox News defeated its cable news rivals, both in total viewers and in the A25-54 demo during the key dayparts.

MSNBC finished No. 4 in prime time, and +106 percent total viewer growth in the daypart versus last year. The network finished No. 3 in total day, improving +104 percent in the daypart from last year. MSNBC’s leap to becoming a consistent top 5 basic cable network is one of the most interesting cable TV stories of 2017.

CNN finished No. 11 in prime time this past, and grew its audience by +79 percent year-over-year. The network scored a solid sixth place finish in total day audience, and was +48 percent in total day viewers.

Here are the top 5 basic cable networks for the week of Dec. 11:

Prime Time (Total Viewers)

  1. ESPN (2,750,000)
  2. Hallmark (2,524,000)
  3. Fox News (2,496,000
  4. MSNBC (2,023,000)
  5. Freeform (1,377,000)

Total Day (Total Viewers)

  1. Fox News (1,508,000)
  2. Hallmark (1,270,000)
  3. MSNBC (1,098,000)
  4. Nickelodeon (974,000)
  5. ESPN (932,000)

Moving over to the business news side – Fox Business defeated rival CNBC in total business day viewers for the 28th consecutive week last week (231,000 vs. 192,000). For the 69th consecutive week, Lou Dobbs Tonight was the most-watched show in business TV news. Along with Dobbs, Stuart Varney, Liz Claman and Neil Cavuto won their respective timeslots in total viewers.

CNBC continues to be the go-to business news network among younger news viewers, and it’s No. 1 in the category the advertising community covets: The prime time demo of A25-54. The network also won Business Day in the demo (35,000 vs. 21,000).

Basic Cable Ranker: Week of December 11 (Total Viewers)