Fox News Is No. 1 in Total Day, ESPN Leads the Way in Prime Time

By A.J. Katz 

Sporting a revamped programming lineup, Fox News remained No. 1 in total day viewers for the week of October 2.

Not only did Fox News win total day over all other basic cable networks, but its shows made up the top 15 non-sports cable telecasts in total viewers. The Tuesday edition of Hannity was the most-watched non-sports broadcast of the entire week (No. 7 overall).

FNC notched 15 of the top 25 cable programs, including Fox & Friends, America’s Newsroom, Happening Now, The Five, Special Report With Bret Baier, The Story with Martha MacCallum, Tucker Carlson Tonight, Hannity and Fox News Tonight.

Sean Hannity had the No. 1 program of the week across all of cable news, beating rival Rachel Maddow and fellow Fox Newser Tucker Carlson both in total viewers and in the all-important A25-54 demo.

Despite large audiences for all of its key programs, Fox News finished No. 2 in prime time behind ESPN. The Worldwide Leader appears to be back on top in prime time for the time being, thanks to Monday Night Football and College Football Prime Time programs. Additionally, its presentation of the AL Wild Card game (Twins-Yankees) was the second-most-watched cable telecast last week, only behind Monday Night Football (Redskins-Chiefs).

But despite that dominance, ESPN was -5 percent in total prime time viewers versus this same week last year. Monday Night Football that week was NY Giants-Vikings, and the NL Wild Card game was SF Giants-Mets.

MSNBC was pushed out of the top 5 in prime time because TBS and FS1 aired MLB playoff contests, and will continue to do so this week and next.

Basic Cable Top 5 – Prime Time (total viewers)

  1. ESPN (3,744,000)
  2. Fox News (2,451,000)
  3. TBS (2,382,000)
  4. FS1 (1,618,000)
  5. Nickelodeon (1,528,000)

Basic Cable Top 5 – Total Day (total viewers)

  1. Fox News (1,611,000)
  2. ESPN (1,118,000)
  3. Nickelodeon (953,000)
  4. MSNBC (897,000)
  5. CNN (893,000)

MSNBC finished No. 6 in total prime time viewers, and No. 4 in total day viewers across basic cable.

CNN finished No. 7 in total prime time viewers, and No. 5 in total day viewers across basic cable.

Fox Business beat CNBC in total Business Day viewers for the 18th straight week (200,000 vs. 165,000), and Lou Dobbs had the most-watched business news show for the 59th straight week (333,000 viewers). But CNBC beat Fox Business in the advertiser-friendly A25-54 demo during Business Day (29,000 vs. 22,000), and it continues to lead FBN in prime time across-the-board.

The cable news networks were down year-over-year, most certainly due to the second presidential debate which aired the same week last year.

Basic Cable Ranker: Week of Oct. 2 (Total Viewers)