Fox News Reclaims Prime Time Cable Throne

By A.J. Katz 

Politics continues to pack ratings punch for the cable news networks.

Fox News Channel was the most-watched cable network for the week of March 14, in prime time (8 p.m. – 11 p.m), and total day (6 a.m. -6 a.m.). The network averaged over 2.6 million total live+same day viewers during prime time (+7 percent week-to-week), and 1.4 million over total day (-0.6 percent week-to-week).

Fox News trumped the cable competition in total day for a 9th consecutive week. Can it approach the longest winning streak among all basic cable networks? That streak belongs to Nickelodeon which was No. 1 for 23 consecutive weeks from Jan. 6 to June 15, 2014.

Additionally, Fox News reclaimed its spot atop the prime time cable landscape after temporarily ceding the throne to CNN during the week of March 7.

TBS and TNT followed in the prime time cable ranks, likely thanks to coverage of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. HGTV and AMC rounded out cable’s top five.

CNN continues to perform well this month, earning yet another top 10 finish in total viewers. The network finished No. 7 in total viewers for the week of March 14, both in prime time (1.5 million) and total day (856,000).

That said, these numbers are slightly down from the week of March 7, when the network had several huge politics nights including primary coverage on Tuesday March 8, a Democratic debate on Wednesday, March 9, a GOP debate on Thursday March 10, the chaos at the Trump rally in Chicago on Friday March 11, and a town hall on Sunday March 13.

MSNBC experienced a strong week. The network finished No. 12 in prime time (1 million total viewers), up one spot from the previous week, and +11 percent in average total viewers. This rise can be attributed, in part, to the record numbers hauled in by the Thursday edition of The Rachel Maddow Show. The episode earned almost 1.5 million total viewers, the strongest total audience for the program on a non-breaking news night since February 2014. Sen. Bernie Sanders was the featured guest.

MSNBC finished this past week No. 15 in total day (584,000), up two spots from the previous week, and +8 percent in average total viewers.

Cable Network Ranker: Week of March 14, 2016