Basic Cable Ranker: Week of Feb. 26

By A.J. Katz 

Fox News finished the week of Feb. 26 as the most-watched network on cable.

In prime time, FNC garnered 2.3 million in total viewers and in total day, FNC delivered 1.4 million in total viewers. This was the eighth consecutive week that FNC ranked No. 1 in total day viewers, and the seventh consecutive week FNC topped all of cable in prime time viewers.

Fox News finished No. 8 in the prime time demo (adults 25-54).

FNC was significantly down from the comparable week last year (-34 percent in prime / -20 percent in total day), a week which included Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress, a broadcast that garnered a staggering 10.1 million viewers in prime time (Feb. 28, 2017).

In prime time, MSNBC averaged nearly 1.9 million total viewers and in total day, over 1 million. MSNBC was the second-most-watched basic cable network of the week, both in prime time and in total day, and finished No. 11 in the prime time demo.

The network was +19 percent in prime time and +23 percent in total day viewers versus last year.

CNN, similar to Fox News, experienced double digit year-over-year losses. The network also dropped to No. 19 in prime time viewers, and No. 14 in total day viewers this past week.

Sibling network, HLN, on the other hand, posted +7 percent prime time viewer growth, and +3 percent total day viewer growth from last year.

Fox Business averaged 214,000 viewers in business day and 218,000 in market hours this past week.

Continuing its reign as the leader in business news, Lou Dobbs Tonight was the most-watched business program for the week, averaging 399,000 total viewers.

Stuart Varney’s three-hour market-open program Varney & Co. defeated its CNBC competitor in total viewers for the 41st consecutive week, with 259,000 total viewers.

Business Day:

FBN: 214,000 total viewers / 32,000 A25-54

Market Hours:

FBN: 218,000 total viewers / 34,000 A25-54


Here’s basic cable’s top 5 for the week of Feb. 26, 2018:


Total Viewers

  1. Fox News (2,304,000)
  2. MSNBC (1,869,000)
  3. ESPN (1,420,000)
  4. HGTV (1,399,000)
  5. USA (1,290,000)


  1. ESPN (619,000)
  2. TBS (611,000)
  3. USA (594,000)
  4. Discovery (561,000)
  5. AMC (544,000)


Total Viewers

  1. Fox News (1,365,000)
  2. MSNBC (1,034,000)
  3. Nickelodeon (948,000)
  4. HGTV (811,000)
  5. Investigation Discovery (727,000)


  1. Investigation Discovery (320,000)
  2. HGTV (285,000)
  3. Fox News (284,000)
  4. USA (272,000)
  5. ESPN (271,000)

Finally, the duo of network rankers, sorted by total viewers and adults 25-54, respectively:

Basic Cable Ranker: Week of Feb. 26 (Total Viewers)

Basic Cable Ranker: Week of Feb. 26 (A25-54)