Basic Cable Ranker: Week of Nov. 25

By A.J. Katz 

Just because it’s a holiday week, doesn’t mean folks are turning off Fox News.

FNC was the most-watched basic cable network in total day for the week of Nov. 25 (1.3 million), and the No. 3 basic cable network in prime time, behind ESPN and Hallmark Channel, the latter of which is now in full holiday movie mode.

In fact, one should expect Fox and Hallmark to battle it out for that No. 2 ranking in prime time for the remainder of 2019.

Airings of Hannity, Tucker Carlson Tonight, The Ingraham Angle, The Story with Martha MacCallum, and Special Report with Bret Baier made up 15 of the top 30 cable telecasts in total viewers.  The Five managed to beat The Rachel Maddow Show in total viewers.

MSNBC maintained a top 5 ranking in total viewers during Thanksgiving week, however it lost a significant chunk of its audience from last year.

Compared to the same week in 2018 (which did not include the Thanksgiving holiday), Fox News was +6% in total prime time viewers and flat in total day viewers. MSNBC and CNN, on the other hand, were double digit percent in viewership, year-over-year.

CNN fell to No. 18 in prime time this past week. The network aired a lot of specials, re-runs, and gave some of its prime time hosts multiple days off. Nevertheless, a drop is a drop and CNN had its lowest-rated week in 5 years among adults 25-54, and its lowest-rated week in total prime time viewers in almost 3 years.

CNN did hold a top 10 ranking in total day (No. 8), despite the free-fall in prime time viewers, and one should expect the network to move back into the prime time top 10 this week, thanks to impeachment hearings coverage on Wednesday.

Here’s the weekly top 10:

Basic Cable Top 10 – Prime Time (total viewers)

  1. ESPN (2,828,000)
  2. Hallmark Channel (2,400,000)
  3. Fox News (2,193,000)
  4. MSNBC (1,310,000)
  5. HGTV (973,000)
  6. Discovery (969,000)
  7. A&E (964,000)
  8. TBS (926,000)
  9. Freeform (897,000)
  10. USA (886,000)

Basic Cable Top 10 – Total Day (total viewers)

  1. Fox News (1,331,000)
  2. Hallmark (1,158,000)
  3. ESPN (975,000)
  4. MSNBC (781,000)
  5. Nickelodeon (686,000)
  6. HGTV (598,000)
  7. Investigation Discovery (569,000)
  8. CNN (539,000)
  9. Lifetime (533,000)
  10. A&E (530,000)

What follows is the full ranker of Nielsen-measured basic cable network ratings:

Basic cable ranker: Week of Nov. 25 (Total Viewers)