Basic Cable Ranker: Week of July 8

By A.J. Katz Comment

Fox News continues to haul in the most viewers of any basic cable network.

For the week of July 8, FNC averaged 1.3 million viewers across 6 a.m. – 6 a.m., running its streak to 27 consecutive weeks as the most-watched basic cable network in that daypart. Fox News also averaged 2.3 million viewers in prime time, running its streak to eight consecutive weeks as basic cable’s most-watched network in prime time.

Breaking news coverage of the Manhattan power outage and Tropical Storm Barry dominated cable news on Saturday evening. According to live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen, from 8 p.m. – 12 a.m. ET, FNC averaged 1.1 million viewers and 183,000 A25-54 viewers, more than CNN (589,000 / 147,000) and MSNBC (616,000 / 85,000), respectively.

Ranking in the top 10 in the 25-54 demo for both total day and prime time, presentations of Hannity, Tucker Carlson Tonight, The Ingraham Angle and The Five (which celebrated its 8th anniversary last week) made up 17 of the top 25 telecasts. Plus, Fox News @ Night finished No. 1 across the board at 11 p.m.

Despite those positives, the network experienced some negatives, including a double digit audience drop-off vs. the same week in 2018, which, to be fair, featured coverage of President Trump’s Supreme Court Justice nomination. A total of 6.6 million viewers watched the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh on that Monday from 9 – 9:15 p.m., No. 1 across broadcast and cable.

MSNBC and CNN didn’t garner the same audience for its coverage of the Kavanaugh nomination, and as a result, this week’s year-over-year change wasn’t as significant.

CNN moved up to the No. 12 spot across basic cable among total prime time viewers this week, after slipping to No. 15 the prior week The network remained in the top 10 across total day (No. 7). MSNBC maintained its hold on the No. 2 ranking, only behind Fox News.

When compared with the same week in 2018, Fox News was -19% in total prime time viewers, MSNBC was -2% in total prime time viewers, and CNN was -4%. In total day, Fox was -14%, MSNBC was -5% and CNN was -8%.

The cable newsers continue to lose a ton of adults 25-54 relative to 2018. Perhaps they’ll return in time for 2020. Fox was -30% in prime time, MSNBC was -26%, and CNN was -29%. In the total day demo, Fox was -25%, MSNBC was -27% and CNN was -29% vs. last year.

Cable News Week of June 17 (Total Viewers)
Fox News: Prime Time (2,330,000) and Total Day (1,322,000)
MSNBC: Prime Time (1,577,000) and Total Day (857,000)
CNN: Prime Time (814,000) and Total Day (551,000)

Cable News Week of June 17 (Adults 25-54)
Fox News: Prime Time (357,000) and Total Day (225,000)
MSNBC: Prime Time (223,000) and Total Day (125,000)
CNN: Prime Time (200,000) 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:


  1. Fox News Channel (2,330,000)
  2. MSNBC (1,577,000)
  3. ESPN (1,461,000)
  4. HGTV (1,282,000)
  5. TLC (1,141,000)
  6. USA (1,038,000)
  7. Investigation Discovery (942,000)
  8. A&E (930,000)
  9. TBS (929,000)
  10. History (856,000)


  1. Fox News (1,322,000)
  2. MSNBC (857,000)
  3. Nickelodeon (820,000)
  4. ESPN (791,000)
  5. HGTV (698,000)
  6. ID (669,000)
  7. CNN (551,000)
  8. Food Network (506,000)
  9. USA (502,000)
  10. Hallmark (493,000)

Basic cable ranker: Week of July 8 (Total Viewers)