Basic Cable Ranker: Week of Sept. 10

By A.J. Katz 

Fox News Channel was No. 1 across basic cable for the weather-worn week of Sept. 10, 2018. That’s No. 1 in total viewers across the 24-hour day (36 consecutive weeks), not No. 1 in total prime time viewers.

Fox News slipped to No. 2 in prime time behind ESPN, which benefited from a duo of Monday Night Football games to kick off the 2018-2019 season.

FNC claimed 10 of the top 25 cable telecasts overall in total viewers, including presentations of Hannity, Tucker Carlson Tonight, and The Ingraham Angle.

Moving exclusively to cable news  – In addition to winning total viewers, Fox News finished No. 1 across cable news in the the prime time demo, averaging 425,000 A25-54 viewers in the daypart. FNC was able to fend off CNN and MSNBC, both of which averaged 401,000 A25-54 viewers in prime time, according to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data. Fox News also was No. 1 in total day in the demo, with 271,000 to CNN’s 259,000 and MSNBC’s 212,000.

MSNBC had a big week in its own right. It was once again the second-most-watched network across basic cable, as shown below, and the third-most-watched in prime time.

The week of Sept. 10, 2018 was a particularly great one for The Rachel Maddow Show. In fact, it was the most-watched week in the 10-year history of the program.

TRMS was the No. 1 program across all of television on Friday, Sept. 14, even ahead of Dateline NBC. On Thursday, Maddow was No. 1 across cable news in the A25-54 demo; her’s was the most-watched cable TV show on Tuesday and Wednesday; and she began the work week ranked No. 1 on cable news across the board.

TRMS averaged 3.43 million total viewers from Monday – Friday, ahead of Hannity’s 3.17 million total average. Maddow also knocked off Hannity among adults 25-54, 667,000 vs. 580,200.

Hannity still holds the lead over Maddow in the 3rd quarter to-date, 3.23 million total viewers vs. 2.90 million total viewers. He also has an advantage over Maddow in adults 25-54, averaging 601,000 per week vs. Maddow’s 560,000 average.

The combination of Trump controversies, and Hurricane Florence coverage towards the end of the week gave cable news a strong bump in the ratings department overall.

Fox News was +18 percent in prime time and +6 percent in total day viewers compared to the same week in 2017. MSNBC was +34 percent in prime time viewers, and +33 percent in total day viewers vs. the same week last year.

CNN, which ranked in the basic cable top 10 in total viewers, was +28 percent in prime time, and +18 percent in total day viewers vs. the comparable week last year.

Can’t forget about The Weather Channel! Aided by its wall-to-wall coverage of Hurricane Florence, TWC ranked No. 8 in total prime time viewers, and No. 4 in viewers across the 24-hour day last week.

Week of Sept. 10:

Basic Cable Top 5 – Prime time (Total Viewers)

  1. ESPN (2,729,000)
  2. Fox News (2,492,000)
  3. MSNBC (2,185,000)
  4. HGTV (1,370,000)
  5. USA (1,303,000)


Basic Cable Top 5 – Total Day (Total Viewers)

  1. Fox News (1,435,000)
  2. MSNBC (1,117,000)
  3. ESPN (1,017,000)
  4. Weather Channel (906,000)
  5. CNN (872,000)

Basic cable ranker: Week of Sept. 10 (Total Viewers)