Basic Cable Ranker: Week of Nov. 11

By A.J. Katz 

The impeachment hearings delivered big audiences for the cable newsers last week, none bigger than Fox News.

In fact, FNC delivered its most-watched week of the calendar year in total day viewers and its highest viewership since the 2018 midterms.

Fox News was also the most-watched network on basic cable for the 45th consecutive week, averaging 1.7 million total viewers. In prime time, FNC swept the cable news competition delivering 2.8 million total viewers and 416,000 in the A25-54 demo, marking the network’s 15th straight weekly win in cable news and No. 3 week of the year in prime time viewers. Additionally, FNC was No. 2 across all of basic cable in total prime time viewers last week, behind ESPN.

Compared with the same week in 2018, Fox was +24% in prime time viewers, +2% in the prime time demo, and +19% in total day viewers.

FNC’s  coverage of the open impeachment hearings on both Wednesday and Friday out-performed all broadcast and cable news networks in total viewers (but not in the A25-54 demo). Led by Bret Baier, Martha MacCallum, Chris Wallace, Dana Perino, Juan Williams alongside America’s Newsroom co-anchors Bill Hemmer and Sandra Smith, FNC averaged 2.9 million total viewers on day 1. That 2.9 million viewer average is in the 10 a.m.- 3:30 p.m ET interval.

The network’s coverage of the first open impeachment hearing also led all of TV, delivering FNC’s third-most-watched day of 2019 in both total viewers and the demo.

Fox News also delivered the most total viewers on day 2 of the hearings, 2.7 million total TV viewers from 9 – 11 a.m. ET / 1 – 2 p.m. ET. That’s -6% in total viewers vs. day 1.

Hannity ranked the highest-rated non-sports cable broadcast for the week, earning 4.4 million viewers, followed by Tucker Carlson Tonight with 4 million viewers. Presentations of Hannity and Tucker Carlson Tonight made up the top 3 non-sports cable telecasts in total viewers. Additionally, presentations of Hannity, Tucker Carlson Tonight, The Five, The Ingraham Angle, and a Hannity Special comprised 12 of the top 20 cable telecasts with total viewers for the week. Notably, FNC’s evening news programs Special Report, The Story and The Five each had their top weeks of the year.

MSNBC was the No. 2 network for impeachment viewership on days 1 and 2. On day, 1, MSNBC averaged 2.7 million total viewers. On day 2, MSNBC averaged 2.6 million total viewers, which is roughly -3% vs. day 1.

For the week, MSNBC was the third-most-watched basic cable network in prime time, and the second-most-watched in total day.

Compared with the same week in 2018, MSNBC was +8% in prime time viewers, +3% in the prime time demo, and +23% in total day viewers.

CNN saw a noticeable drop off from day 1 to day 2 of the impeachment hearings. On day 1, the network averaged nearly 1.9 million total viewers. On day 2, CNN averaged 1.62 million. That’s a drop off of -23%. CNN beat MSNBC in the A25-54 demo on day 1, but not on day 2.

CNN managed to earn a spot in the basic cable top 10 in prime time viewers (No. 6) and a top 5 spot in total day (No. 5). In fact, the network, as you might have guessed, posted year-over-year growth in total day viewers (+7%). The network did lose a bit when it came to total prime time audience (-2%) and more in the prime time demo (-21%).


Cable News Rankings (Total Viewers)

  • FNC ranked No. 2 in prime time (2,832,000) and No. 1 in total day (1,697,000)
  • MSNBC ranked No.3 in prime time (2,007,000) and No. 2 in total day (1,294,000)
  • CNN ranked No. 6 in prime time (1,023,000) and No. 5 in total day (823,000)

Cable News Ratings (A25-54)

  • FNC – Prime Time (416,000) and Total Day (272,000)
  • MSNBC – Prime Time (324,000) and Total Day (198,000)
  • CNN – Prime Time (247,000) and Total Day (195,000)

Basic Cable Top 5 – Prime Time (Total Viewers)

  1. ESPN (3,188,000)
  2. Fox News (2,832,000)
  3. MSNBC (2,007,000)
  4. Hallmark Channel (1,602,000)
  5. HGTV (1,049,000)
  6. CNN (1,023,000)
  7. A&E (941,000)
  8. TBS (882,000)
  9. History (878,000)
  10. Discovery (871,000)

Basic Cable Top 5 – Total Day (Total Viewers)

  1. FNC (1,697,000)
  2. MSNBC (1,294,000)
  3. ESPN (1,129,000)
  4. Hallmark Channel (898,000)
  5. CNN (823,000)
  6. Nickelodeon (667,000)
  7. HGTV (629,000)
  8. ID (593,000)
  9. Food Network (548,000)
  10. A&E (519,000)


Basic cable ranker: Week of Nov. 11 (Total Viewers)