Basic Cable Ranker: Week of Oct. 1

By A.J. Katz Comment

Fox News’ wall-to-wall coverage of the vote and confirmation of newly appointed US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh on Saturday lifted the network to a dominant ratings win for the week of Oct. 1, not just across cable news but also across the entire basic cable landscape.

Per Nielsen, Fox News averaged 3.47 million total viewers in prime time last week, easily No. 1 across cable for the third consecutive week. In total day, Fox News averaged 2.04 million viewers across the 24-hour day, which is the network’s largest total day audience for a week in 2018 to-date. FNC has now ranked No. 1 in total day viewers for 39 straight weeks.

Among cable news this week, FNC was not only the most watched network across the board, but it managed to beat CNN and MSNBC combined in total viewers in both prime time and total day, along with defeating both nets combined in the 25-54 demo in prime time.

Hannity had the top-rated cable news program (4.1 million), The Ingraham Angle (3.7 million), Tucker Carlson Tonight (3.7 million), The Five (3.1 million) and Special Report with Bret Baier (3 million) all beat MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show (2.9 million) for the week’s average among total viewers. In the 25-54 demo, Hannity (832,000), Tucker Carlson Tonight (755,000) and The Ingraham Angle (750,000) also outranked TRMS (587,000) average for the week.

That’s very rare.

Additionally, The Ingraham Angle and Fox News @ Night with Shannon Bream had their top weeks in both total viewers and the 25-54 demo ever. The Five also had its most-watched week in both total viewers and the 25-54 demo this year.

On Saturday, Oct.6th, FNC was the most-watched cable news network in all categories, beating CNN and MSNBC combined across the board. In total day, FNC delivered its largest average audience for Saturday total day since coverage of Hurricane Katrina on Sept.3rd, 2005 and its highest 25-54 demo viewership since Jan. 21st, 2017, the day after Trump’s inauguration.

FNC also had its highest Saturday prime time viewership since coverage of the Iraq war on April 5, 2003, with 3.3 million total viewers and 583,000 in the 25-54 demo, marking its third-largest average audience in Saturday prime time ever.

MSNBC dropped ever so slightly in the basic cable rankings because TBS has broadcast rights to MLB’s American League playoffs; but it still delivered a very strong week in the ratings department.

The network posted double digit growth vs. the same week last year, both in prime time viewers (+21 percent) and in total day viewers (+14 percent).

As long as Trump continues to make news, and as long as people continue watching the NFL and college football this fall, MSNBC and ESPN will likely be fighting it out for the No. 2 spot across cable in total viewers.

CNN garnered a top 10 ranking in total viewers this past week as well, ranking No. 7 across basic cable in prime time (1.02 million), and No. 6 in total day (739,000). On the downside, CNN posted double digit declines vs. the comparable week last week. The network was -14 percent in prime time, and -17 percent in total day vs. last year.

Basic Cable Top 10 – Prime Time (total viewers)

  1. Fox News (3,474,000)
  2. ESPN (3,300,000)
  3. TBS (2,770,000)
  4. MSNBC (1,784,000)
  5. USA (1,119,000)
  6. HGTV (1,111,000)
  7. CNN (1,016,000)
  8. Hallmark Channel (1,005,000)
  9. FS1 (1,003,000)
  10. AMC (970,000)

Basic Cable Top 10 – Total Day (total viewers)

  1. Fox News (2.042,000)
  2. ESPN (1,139,000)
  3. MSNBC (1,024,000)
  4. TBS (833,000)
  5. Nickelodeon (745,000)
  6. CNN (739,000)
  7. Investigation Discovery (666,000)
  8. HGTV (650,000)
  9. Hallmark Channel (605,000)
  10. USA (538,000)

Basic cable ranker: Week of Oct. 1 (Total Viewers)

Business news ratings: Week of Oct. 1

Business Day (9:30 a.m. -5 p.m. ET)

  • FBN: 228,000 total viewers / 29,000 A25-54
  • CNBC: 158,000 total viewers / 32,000 A25-54

Market Hours (9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. ET)

  • FBN: 233,000 total viewers and 31,000 A25-54
  • CNBC: 160,000 total viewers and 32,000 A25-54

Total Day (6 a.m. – 6 a.m. ET)

  • FBN: 164,000 total viewers / 23,000 A25-54
  • CNBC: 140,000 total viewers / 42,000 A25-54


Ratings for the top five business programs (Total Viewers)

  • FBN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight (396,000)
  • FBN’s Varney & Co (275,000)
  • FBN’s Countdown to the Closing Bell with Liz Claman (223,000)
  • FBN’s Cavuto: Coast to Coast (211,000)
  • FBN’s After the Bell (189,000)