October was a massive month for cable news thanks to all of the televised general election debates. Fox News, CNN and MSNBC were all top 10 basic cable networks for October in total viewers.
Fox News was basic cable’s most-watched network, both in total day and prime time for the 5th month in 2016. The network held off football and playoff baseball-heavy sports networks ESPN and FS1 in total prime time viewers, as well as rival CNN, which finished No. 3 overall. FNC grew +74 percent in prime time and +43 percent in total day from October 2015.
CNN finished the month No. 3 in total prime time viewers, up +100 percent from October 2015, and No. 3 in total day viewers, up +99 percent from October 2015.
MSNBC ranked No. 6 in prime time (+168 percent year over year), and No. 6 in total day (+128 percent year over year).
Fox News, ESPN, CNN, FS1, TBS, MSNBC, USA, HGTV, AMC and Discovery round out October’s 10 most-watched basic cable networks in prime time. Fox News, Nickelodeon, CNN, ESPN, Adult Swim, MSNBC, Nick-at-Nite, USA, HGTV and Cartoon Network round out the month’s 10 most-watched basic cable networks in total day.
HLN ranked No. 47 in prime time (+3 percent), and No. 36 in total day (-6 percent). CNBC ranked No. 49 in prime time (-21 percent), and tied for No. 60 in total day (-22 percent). Fox Business finished No. 71 in prime time (+160 percent) and tied with CNBC for No. 60 in total day (+100 percent).