Basic Cable Ranker: Week of Oct. 15

By A.J. Katz 

Another week, another No. 1 ranking for Fox News Channel.

The network ran its streak to 41 weeks as the most-watched network on basic cable, averaging 1.5 million total viewers across the 24-hour day, per Nielsen live-plus-same-day data.

The finish wasn’t quite as impressive in prime time. Fox News ranked No. 4 in prime time. FS1 and TBS broadcast the League Championship Series last week (NLCS on FS1 and ALCS on TBS), while ESPN delivered large audiences with Monday Night Football and the start of the NBA regular season.

FNC averaged 2.6 million total prime time viewers, and claimed 12 of the 30-most-watched cable telecasts overall, including presentations of Hannity, Tucker Carlson Tonight, The Ingraham Angle and The Five. Two Hannity telecasts this past week garnered larger total audiences than NBA game on TNT between the Lakers and the Trail Blazers, which included LeBron’s highly-anticipated Lakers debut.

Hannity had the top-rated cable news program on Thursday, Oct. 18 with 3.1 million in total viewers and 723,000 in the 25-54 demo.

Despite that drop to 4th place, FNC posted +48 percent total prime time viewer growth vs. the same week last year,  when it also earned a 4th place finish.

FNC will most certainly move back up to No. 1 or No. 2 across basic cable by the end of this week, with the MLB playoffs moving from cable to broadcast.

Basic Cable Top 5 – Prime Time (Total Viewers)

  1. FS1 (3,070,000)
  2. TBS (2,670,000)
  3. ESPN (2,639,000)
  4. Fox News (2,606,000)
  5. TNT (1,540,000)

Basic Cable Top 5 – Total Day (Total Viewers)

  1. Fox News (1,512,000)
  2. ESPN (968,000)
  3. TBS (868,000)
  4. MSNBC (836,000)
  5. Nickelodeon (779,000)

Fox News blew its cable news competition out of the water last week, beating CNN and MSNBC combined in prime time and total day among total viewers for the third consecutive week.

MSNBC dropped out of the top 5 in total viewers. The network was also -9 percent in prime time viewers, and -6 percent in total day viewers vs. last year.

CNN was +5 percent in total prime time viewers, but -7 percent in total day viewers vs. last year.

Basic cable ranker: Week of Oct. 15 (Total Viewers)

Over on FBN, the premiere of Trish Regan Prime Time delivered the network’s most-watched week for the 8 p.m. ET hour in history (209,000 total viewers), according to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data. On the downside, the program lost a significant chunk of its Lou Dobbs Tonight lead-in. To be fair, Dobbs has had the most-watched program in business news for 111 straight weeks.

Nevertheless, the 209,000 viewers Regan’s new show averaged capped a good week for FBN as it once again performed nicely in Business Day, Market Hours and Total Day among total viewers.

Additionally, the debut of Kennedy in the 9 p.m. slot also performed above average with a +58 percent increase in total viewers compared to the month of October, which aired a repeat of Strange Inheritance during the hour.


Business Day (9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

FBN: 213,000 total viewers / 24,000 A25-54

CNBC: 183,000 total viewers / 36,000 A25-54

Market Hours (9:30 a.m. ET –  4 p.m. ET)

FBN: 216,000 total viewers / 25,000 A25-54

CNBC: 185,000 total viewers / 37,000 A25-54

Total Day (6 a.m. – 6 a.m. ET)

FBN: 153,000 total viewers / 20,000 A25-54

CNBC: 143,000 total viewers / 42,000 A25-54