Basic Cable Ranker: Week of January 15

By A.J. Katz 

Without college and pro football to lean on, ESPN fell out of the top 5 among total viewers, and Fox News moved back up to the top of the charts for the week of Jan. 15, 2018, both in total day and in prime time.

Fox News was No. 1 in total prime time viewers last week, but -30 percent versus the comparable week in 2017. To be fair, the week of Jan. 16, 2017 included the inauguration of Donald Trump. Fox News delivered its highest-rated inauguration coverage in network history on that Friday, Jan. 20, 2017.

The network finished No. 4 across all of cable among adults 25-54, and No. 2 in total day last week.

MSNBC didn’t have that year-over-year drop off problem. The network continues to draw significant audiences, and finished No. 2 across all of basic cable this past week, both in prime time and in total day.

Perhaps not surprisingly, MSNBC posted significant audience growth versus last year in prime time (+42 percent). The network was also +37 percent in total day viewers.

MSNBC finished No. 12 in prime time among adults 25-54, and No. 12 among adults 25-54 in total day.

CNN experienced a similar issue to Fox News, posting significant prime time audience losses relative to the same week in 2017 (-42 percent) due to in-depth inauguration coverage.

The network finished No. 12 in total prime time viewers, No. 6 in total day viewers, No. 17 in the prime time demo, but No. 8 in the total day demo.

On the programming front, various installments of Fox News’s Tucker Carlson Tonight, Hannity and The Ingraham Angle made up half of the top 20 telecasts in all of cable.

Hannity was No. 1 across all of basic cable last week in total viewers, while MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow was No. 1 across cable news in adults 25-54 (680,000).

On Fox News, Sunday prime time debut of Scandalous, which focused on former Pres. Bill Clinton, averaged nearly 1.7 million total viewers, and 316,000 from the demo, the latter of which is a +33 percent gain versus FNC’s Q4 average in the Sunday 8 p.m. hour.

The Saturday premiere of Cavuto Live debuted at No. 1 in its 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. time period, averaging 2.1 million viewers. That’s significantly more than the cable news competition, and +32 percent versus the network’s period average last year.

Here’s a look at the Top 5.

Basic Cable Top 5 – Prime Time (Total Viewers)

  1. Fox News (2,732,000)
  2. MSNBC (2,009,000)
  3. HGTV (1,491,000)
  4. USA (1,476,000)
  5. TNT (1,350,000)

Basic Cable Top 5 – Total Day (Total Viewers)

  1. Fox News (1,595,000)
  2. MSNBC (1,091,000)
  3. Nickelodeon (1,051,000)
  4. HGTV (868,000)
  5.  Investigation Discovery (858,000)

Moving to business television – Fox Business defeated CNBC last week in total business day viewers (277,000 vs. 208,000) but fell short to CNBC in the advertiser-friendly A25-54 demo (36,000 vs. 47,000).

As the Dow passed 26,000 on Wednesday, Jan. 17, FBN averaged 302,000 total viewers in business day, while CNBC averaged 200,000. But CNBC beat Fox Business in the A25-54 demo (34,000 vs. 33,000).

Fox Business’s Lou Dobbs Tonight marked 74 consecutive weeks as the No. 1 business television program in total viewers (391,000), while CNBC continues to be the business network of choice among adults 25-54 across all dayparts.

Below are two basic cable network rankers sorted by Total Viewers (P2+) and Adults 25-54.

Basic Cable Ranker: Week of Jan. 15 (Total Viewers)

Basic Cable Ranker: Week of Jan. 15 (A25-54)