Basic Cable Ranker: Week of December 4

By A.J. Katz 

The week of December 4th was another big one for cable news from a ratings standpoint, with Fox News, MSNBC and CNN all posted year-over-year audience gains.

Fox News was the most-watched basic cable network for the week, both in prime time and in the total day dayparts. Fox also defeated its cable news rivals in the news advertiser-preferred A25-54 demo, ranking No. 7 across basic cable. MSNBC was No. 12, and CNN was No. 19.

Hannity was the No. 1 cable news show of the week in total viewers (3.3 million), and it notched five of the 15-most-watched basic cable telecasts of the week.

MSNBC delivered a top five finish across basic cable, both in prime time (No. 4) and in total day (No. 3). The network was, per usual, led by Rachel Maddow, who also had the No. 1 cable news show among adults 25-54 for the second straight week (683,000 Mon – Thurs).

Compared to the same week last year, Fox News (+2 percent), MSNBC (+116 percent), CNN (+14 percent), HLN (+4 percent) and CNBC (+28 percent) posted total prime time audience growth.

MSNBC (+105 percent), CNN (+32 percent) and CNBC (+5 percent) all posted year-over-year audience growth in total day.

Fox Business was down year-over-year in advertiser-desired prime time, but managed to grow its total business day audience (+4 percent) and topped CNBC in the category (241,000 vs. 192,000). Lou Dobbs delivered the most-watched show on business news for the 68th consecutive week, while Trish Regan won 2 p.m. in total viewers for the 10th straight week.

CNBC was down in total business day viewers, but continues to beat Fox Business when it comes to younger news viewers, and is still winning in prime time.

Here’s a look at the 10 most-watched basic cable networks for the week.

Basic Cable Top 10 – Prime Time (total viewers)

  1. Fox News (2,608,000)
  2. Hallmark Channel (2,504,000)
  3. ESPN (2,435,000)
  4. MSNBC (1,928,000)
  5. Freeform (1,499,000)
  6. USA (1,396,000)
  7. TBS (1,252,000)
  8. HGTV (1,226,000)
  9. AMC (1,191,000)
  10. Hallmark Movies & Mysteries (1,120,000)

Basic Cable Top 10 – Total Day (total viewers)

  1. Fox News (1,568,000)
  2. Hallmark Channel (1,283,000)
  3. MSNBC (1,053,000)
  4. Nickelodeon (1,008,000)
  5. ESPN (879,000)
  6. Freeform (736,000)
  7. CNN (734,000)
  8. Investigation Discovery (710,000)
  9. HGTV (685,000)
  10. USA (665,000)

Hallmark continues to thrive with its holiday movie slate in prime time. Not only did Hallmark Channel finish as basic cable’s second-most-watched cable network in prime time (even beating ESPN), but its younger sibling Hallmark Movies & Mysteries also made an appearance in the top 10 (No. 10).

Freeform also airs a ton of holiday movies in prime time this time of year, which explains yet another top 10 finish across basic cable this past week.

Basic Cable Ranker: Week of Dec. 4 (Total Viewers)

Basic Cable Ranker: Week of Dec. 4 (A25-54)