Basic Cable Ranker: Week of Oct. 14

By A.J. Katz 

During the week of Oct. 14, Fox News was the most-watched basic cable network across the 6 a.m. – 6 a.m. time period, marking its 41st consecutive week as No. 1 in that interval.

FNC finished No. 3 in prime time, garnered 2.7 million viewers. Why the drop? FS1 broadcast MLB’s American League Championship Series last week, while ESPN averaged a large prime time audience due to Monday Night Football.

Additionally, presentations of Hannity (No. 1 in total viewers for the week), The Ingraham Angle, Tucker Carlson Tonight and The Five made up 16 of the top 40 cable telecasts in total viewers. Notably, the Wednesday and Thursday airings of Hannity averaged more total viewers than TBS’ presentation of the National League Championship Series (the Nationals’ disposal of the Cardinals) on Monday, Oct. 14.

CNN was the No. 4 basic cable network of the week in average total audience, both for prime time and total day (6 a.m. – 6 a.m.). It was also the No. 1 cable news network of the week among adults 25-54, the demo advertisers of news seem to care about the most.

The network’s Presidential Primary Debate delivered 8.1 million total viewers on Tuesday, Oct. 15, the largest audience for a non-sports cable telecast last week. While eight million might sound like a huge audience, it’s actually -20% versus the network’s previous debate and the least-watched debate of the election cycle to-date.

MSNBC was the No. 5 basic cable network last week in prime time, and No. 2 in total day.

Versus the same week in 2018, MSNBC was +25% in total prime time viewers, Fox News was +3%, and because there was no debate that week, CNN, unsurprisingly, was +138%. Additionally, ESPN was +8%.

In total day, MSNBC was +35%, Fox News was -3% and CNN was +48%.


Cable News Rankings (Total Viewers)

  • FNC ranked No. 3 in Prime Time (2,687,000) and No. 1 in Total Day (1,464,000)
  • CNN ranked No. 4 in Prime Time (2,024,000) and No. 4 in Total Day (902,000)
  • MSNBC ranked No. 5 in Prime Time (1,838,000) and No. 2 in Total Day (1,131,000)


Cable News Ratings (A25-54)

  • FNC – Prime Time (414,000) and Total Day (248,000)
  • CNN – Prime Time (555,000) and Total Day (228,000)
  • MSNBC – Prime Time (296,000) and Total Day (172,000)

Basic Cable Top 5 – Prime Time (Total Viewers)

  1. ESPN (2,852,000)
  2. Fox Sports 1 (2,778,000)
  3. Fox News Channel (2,687,000)
  4. CNN (2,024,000)
  5. MSNBC (1,838,000)

Basic Cable Top 5 – Total Day (Total Viewers)

  1. Fox News (1,464,000)
  2. MSNBC (1,131,000)
  3. ESPN (977,000)
  4. CNN (902,000)
  5. FS1 (745,000)


Basic cable ranker: Week of Oct. 14 (Total Viewers)