The spotlight was on CNN last week, as the network hosted Democratic presidential primary debates on back-to-back nights live from Detroit.
As one might have guessed, it completed the week of July 29 as the No. 1 basic cable network in prime time, averaging 3.27 million total viewers in the daypart. CNN averaged +695,000 more prime time viewers than its closest competitor, a significant margin of victory for the network.
CNN was also the top cable news network among adults 25-54, and finished the week as the second-most-watched basic cable network in total day.
Which network was No. 1 for the week in total day? That would be Fox News.
FNC ran its streak to 30 consecutive weeks at No. 1 in the 6 a.m. – 6 a.m. daypart, with a 1.45 million viewer average. No network came close to averaging a million viewers in that daypart. Fox News also averaged 2.57 million viewers in prime time this past week, second only to CNN. Fox News’ streak as basic cable’s most-watched network in prime time ends at 11 weeks.
MSNBC was the third-most-watched basic cable network last night, both in total day and the prime time dayparts.
The three-most-watched cable networks last week were of the cable news variety.
When compared with the same week in 2018, Fox News was +7% in total prime time viewers. The network didn’t seem to be negatively impacted by CNN’s prime time debates, ratings-wise. MSNBC, on the other hand, was -21% in total prime time viewers, while CNN was predictably WAY up (+259%), thanks to the debates. In total day, Fox was +10%, MSNBC was -12% and CNN was +56%.
Cable News Week of July 15 (Total Viewers)
CNN: Prime Time (3,260,000) and Total Day (995,000)
Fox News: Prime Time (2,565,000) and Total Day (1,453,000)
MSNBC: Prime Time (1,273,000) and Total Day (855,000)
Cable News Week of July 15 (Adults 25-54)
CNN: Prime Time (916,000) and Total Day (264,000)
Fox News: Prime Time (415,000) and Total Day (258,000)
MSNBC: Prime Time (190,000) and Total Day (126,000)
According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, here are the 10 most-watched basic cable networks for the week in total day and prime time:
PRIME TIME (Total Viewers)
- CNN (3,260,000)
- Fox News (2,565,000)
- MSNBC (1,273,000)
- Discovery (1,224,000)
- HGTV (1,219,000)
- TBS (1,079,000)
- A&E (1,032,000)
- TLC (1,020,000)
- Hallmark (980,000)
- USA (979,000)
- Fox News (1,453,000)
- CNN (995,000)
- MSNBC (855,000)
- Nickelodeon (756,000)
- HGTV (679,000)
- Investigation Discovery (633,000)
- Discovery (549,000)
- Hallmark (527,000)
- History (525,000)
- A&E (504,000)
Source: Nielsen live-plus-same-day data. 7/29/2019 – 08/4/2019. M-Su 8p-11p / M-Su 6a-6a