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Basic Cable Rankings: Week of May 13

By A.J. Katz 

Fox News finished the week of May 13 as the most-watched basic cable network in total day (6 a.m. – 6 a.m) marking 19 consecutive weeks at the top of the heap in that daypart.

However, FNC finished No. 2 in prime time behind ESPN. The Worldwide Leader in Sports attracted huge audiences for its NBA Western Conference Finals broadcasts.

Throughout the week, presentations of Hannity, Tucker Carlson Tonight, The Ingraham Angle and The Five claimed 11 of the top 30 cable telecasts overall in total viewers.

Additionally, FNC’s town hall with Mayor Pete Buttigieg averaged 1.1 million viewers and 172,000 in the 25-54 demo, more than CNN and MSNBC, and + 22% in both viewers and the demo versus the FNC’s year to-date average for the Sunday 7 p.m. timeslot where Fox News Sunday re-run is regularly aired.

CNN and MSNBC, on the other hand, slumped. CNN experienced its lowest-rated week since November 2015 in the 25-54 demo. Additionally, MSNBC marked its lowest-rated prime time week of the year in the demo. Rachel Maddow delivered her lowest-rated week of the year in both total viewers and the 25-54 demo.

Yes, Fox News continued to dominate its competition, but it didn’t exactly have a spectacular week either. The network was down in the key measurements during prime time and total day.

Versus the comparable week in 2018, Fox News was -3% in total prime time viewers, MSNBC was -13% in total prime time viewers, while CNN was -26% in the daypart. In total day viewers, Fox was -10%, MSNBC was -13% and CNN was -34%.

In the A25-54 demo, the losses were even more extreme. Fox News was -22%, MSNBC -42% and CNN -43% in prime time vs. the comparable week last year. Fox was -21%, MSNBC -45% and CNN -47% in the total day demo vs. last year.

CNN still managed to score a top 10 ranking in total day (No. 9), while MSNBC remained a top 4 basic cable network in total viewers, behind Fox and the NBA Playoffs-driven ESPN and TNT.

NBCSN was the 6th-most-watched basic cable network in prime time last week, thanks to its coverage of the NHL Playoffs. This year’s playoffs have been good for the cable network. NBCSN posted +10% total viewer growth this past week from the same week in 2018.

Here are the top 10:


  1. ESPN (2,720,000)
  2. Fox News Channel (2,333,000)
  3. TNT (2,123,000)
  4. MSNBC (1,487,000)
  5. HGTV (1,160,000)
  6. NBC Sports Network (1,133,000)
  7. USA (1,076,000)
  8. TBS (934,000)
  9. Hallmark Channel (893,000)
  10. History (893,000)

TOTAL DAY (6a – 6a)

  1. Fox News (1,313,000)
  2. ESPN (887,000)
  3. MSNBC (848,000)
  4. TNT (799,000)
  5. HGTV (665,000)
  6. Investigation Discovery (641,000)
  7. Nickelodeon (638,000)
  8. USA (536,000)
  9. CNN (520,000)
  10. History (507,000)

Cable News Ratings (A25-54)

  • FNC – Prime time (360,000) and Total Day (227,000)
  • CNN – Prime time (170,000) and Total Day (128,000)
  • MSNBC – Prime time (204,000) and Total Day (119,000)

Basic cable ranker: Week of May 13 (Total Viewers)