Basic Cable Ranker: Week of Sept. 2

By A.J. Katz Comment

Fox News and ESPN split top honors for the week of Sept. 2.

Lifted by its U.S. Open and college football programming, ESPN was the No. 1 cable network in prime time in all relevant measurements last week, including total viewers.

Fox News was the most-watched basic cable network in total day for the 35th consecutive week.

FNC highlights from the week include Outnumbered Overtime with Harris Faulkner averaging more total viewers than Strahan & Sara on ABC, and the Wednesday, Sept. 4 edition of Hannity as the most-watched non-sports telecast (3.42 million viewers).

On Labor Day Monday (Sept. 2), FNC was the most-watched cable news network for special breaking news coverage of Hurricane Dorian. When it came to drawing the key A25-54 demo, however, The Weather Channel was No. 1.

Hannity, Tucker Carlson Tonight and The Ingraham Angle delivered seven of the Top 10 cable telecasts in total viewers for the week

Fox News @ Night anchored by Shannon Bream beat MSNBC’s 11th Hour with Brian Williams in the key A25-54 demo, while the latter beat the former in total viewers.

Speaking of MSNBC, NBCU’s politics-focused network finished third across basic cable, both in total day and prime time, this past week. MSNBC has turned into a perennial top five basic cable network in recent years, but it has also seen its numbers drop on a year-over-year basis in 2019. Perhaps audiences will return in 2020.

CNN remained a top 10 network, and performed especially well in prime time. Viewers from the A25-54 demo seemed to choose CNN over MSNBC when it came to breaking news coverage of Hurricane Dorian.

The Weather Channel didn’t thrive in prime time like the other big cable newsers, but it was the fourth-most-watched basic cable network in total day, finishing ahead of CNN and behind MSNBC in total viewers.

CNN beat MSNBC in the prime time demo this past week, while MSNBC beat CNN in total viewers.

When compared with the same week in 2018, Fox News was -5% in total prime time viewers, MSNBC was -31%, CNN was -26%, and ESPN was -1%. In total day, Fox was -8%,  MSNBC was -27% CNN was -19%, but ESPN was +1%.

The Weather Channel, as you might expect, was up triple-digits year-over-year.

Cable News Week of Sept. 2 (Total Viewers)
Fox News: Prime Time (2,215,000) and Total Day (1,313,000)
MSNBC: Prime Time (1,408,000) and Total Day (833,000)
CNN: Prime Time (869,000) and Total Day (641,000)
Weather: Prime Time (669,000) and Total Day (665,000)

Cable News Week of Sept. 2 (Adults 25-54)
Fox News: Prime Time (336,000) and Total Day (220,000)
CNN: Prime Time (230,000) and Total Day (150,000)
MSNBC: Prime Time (196,000) and Total Day (115,000)

Source: Nielsen live-plus-same-day data. 9/02/2019 – 09/08/2019. M-Su 8p-11p / M-Su 6a-6a

Basic cable ranker: Week of Sept. 2 (Total Viewers)

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