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Cable Program Ranker: Fox News Has 12 of the 15 Most-Watched Cable News Programs for May

By A.J. Katz 

In May 2020, Hannity regained the distinction of being the most-watched show on cable news, averaging 4.2 million total viewers and 672,000 adults 25-54 during a month defined by consistent coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic, and more recently, the nationwide protests sparked by the police murder of George Floyd.

Tucker Carlson Tonight remained the No. 1 cable news show among adults 25-54, averaging roughly 700,000 in the demo.

That’s according to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data for the month of May.


The Five, The Ingraham Angle, and Special Report with Bret Baier rounded out the top five in Total Viewers. Special Report was technically Fox News’ No. 1 program back in April. However, it received that distinction because the White House coronavirus task force briefings aired during that 6 p.m. hour.

Rachel Maddow Show, The Story with Martha MacCallum, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Your World with Neil Cavuto, and Fox News @ Night rounded out the top-10 most-watched cable news shows for May.

Fox News @ Night with Shannon Bream averaged 2.1 million viewers and 438,000 in the key demo, out-performing The 11th Hour with Brian Williams in the 25-54 demographic for the sixth consecutive month in both categories.

Justice with Judge Jeanine remained the most-watched weekend cable news show.

Cuomo Prime Time was CNN’s top program, coming in at No. 19 in Total Viewers, but up at No. 5 in the key A25-54 demo.

Here are cable news’ 15-most-watched shows for April 2020:

Network/Show/Total Viewers/ Time slot/ # of telecasts

  1. Fox News/Hannity/4,231,000/9 p.m./ 21
  2. Fox News / Tucker Carlson Tonight/4,192,000/8 p.m./23
  3. Fox News/The Five/3,734,000/5 p.m./24
  4. Fox News/The Ingraham Angle/3,485,000/10 p.m./23
  5. Fox News/Special Report with Bret Baier/3,085,000/6 p.m./24
  6. MSNBC/The Rachel Maddow Show/3,006,000/9 p.m./23
  7. Fox News/The Story with Martha MacCallum/2,539,000/7 p.m./24
  8. MSNBC/The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell/2,270,000/10 p.m./23
  9. Fox News/Your World with Neil Cavuto/2,163,000/4 p.m./24
  10. Fox News/Fox News @ Night/2,053,000/11 p.m./25
  11. Fox News/Outnumbered/1,992,000/12 p.m./24
  12. MSNBC/Deadline: White House with Nicolle Wallace/1,960,000/4 p.m./23
  13. Fox News/The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino/1,934,000/2 p.m./24
  14. Fox News/America’s Newsroom/1,918,000/9 a.m.-12 p.m./72
  15. Fox News/Bill Hemmer Reports/1,918,000/3 p.m./24

Lastly, the morning show comparison: Fox & Friends vs. Morning Joe vs. New Day.

• Total Viewers: 1,602,000 1,336,000 633,000
• A25-54: 283,000 209,000 152,000




Cable News Show Ranker: May 2020 (Total Viewers)

Fox News was home to 4 of the top 5 highest-rated cable news programs among adults 25-54, with CNN Cuomo Prime Time breaking up the Fox News monopoly on the key demo, and coming in at No. 5 for the month.

Tucker Carlson was No. 1 on cable news in the demo, as previously mentioned, averaging a whopping 700,000 adults 25-54 per first-run original broadcast. Hannity followed him, with The Five, The Ingraham Angle and Cuomo Prime Time rounding out the top five.

CNN, especially, had a more prominent presence at the top of the A25-54 charts, with 6 of its shows finishing among the top 15. Fox News had 8 in the top 15, while MSNBC had only one (Rachel Maddow, coming in at No. 7, tied with Anderson Cooper 360).

Network/Show/Adults 25-54 / # of telecasts

  1. Fox News/Tucker Carlson Tonight/700,000/8 p.m./23
  2. Fox News/Hannity/672,000/9 p.m./21
  3. Fox News/The Five/578,000/5 p.m/21
  4. Fox News/The Ingraham Angle/578,000/10 p.m./23
  5. CNN/Cuomo Prime Time/500,000/9 p.m./33
  6. Fox News/Special Report with Bret Baier/498,000/6 p.m./24
  7. CNN/Anderson Cooper 360/455,000/8 p.m./14
  8. MSNBC/The Rachel Maddow Show/455,000/9 p.m./23
  9. Fox News/The Story with Martha MacCallum/452,000/7 p.m./24
  10. CNN/CNN Tonight with Don Lemon/445,000/10 p.m./35
  11. Fox News/Fox News @ Night/438,000/11 p.m./25
  12. CNN/Erin Burnett Outfront/385,000/7 p.m./28
  13. CNN/The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer/368,000/5 p.m./48
  14. CNN/The Lead with Jake Tapper/352,000/4 p.m./26
  15. Fox News/Your World with Neil Cavuto/344,000/4 p.m/24

Cable News Show Ranker: May 2020 (Adults 25-54)