Fox News Was the Most-Watched Basic Cable Network Last Week; Posted Year-Over-Year Growth

By A.J. Katz 

Another week, another win in total viewers for Fox News Channel. The network continues its dominance across basic cable in total day for the week of July 9, marking 27 consecutive weeks at No. 1, per Nielsen live-plus-same-day data. Additionally, in prime time, Fox News topped cable with nearly 2.8 million in total viewers and 509,000 in the 25-54 demo.

Not only did FNC thrive in total viewers, it managed to earn a top 5 ranking in prime time among adults 25-54 (No. 3).

Compared to the same week last year, FNC was +34 percent in total prime time viewers, +31 percent in the prime time demo, +26 percent in total day viewers, and +14 percent in the total day demo.


Why such significant year-over-year growth? FNC received a significant boost from coverage of President Trump’s Supreme Court Justice nomination last Monday. The network averaged a whopping 6.6 million total viewers from 9-9:15 p.m. ET, more than any other broadcast or cable network carrying the event. ABC was No. 1 among adults 25-54. The broadcast drew 26 million U.S. TV viewers watching on Nielsen-measured networks.

Hannity, which aired during the SCOTUS nomination hour, was also the most-watched cable telecast that Monday, with 5.8 million total viewers.

Additionally, FNC claimed the top 12 cable telecasts last week in total viewers with presentations of Hannity, The Ingraham Angle and Tucker Carlson Tonight. It also occupied 26 of the top 30 cable telecasts overall in total viewers, including presentations of Hannity, Tucker Carlson Tonight, The Ingraham Angle, The Five, The Story with Martha MacCallum, Special Report with Bret Baier, Outnumbered, The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino, America’s Newsroom and Your World with Neil Cavuto.

CNN and MSNBC were down year-over-year across the board. CNN was -5 percent in total prime time viewers, -2 percent in the prime time demo, and -9 percent in total day viewers from last year. MSNBC’s decline was even steeper in prime time: -6 in total viewers and down double digits in the prime time demo.

Additionally, The Rachel Maddow Show had its lowest-rated non-holiday week in the demo of 2018, averaging 491,000 A25-54 viewers.

So what happened? The Supreme Court nomination broadcast: MSNBC carried the nomination announcement, which just so happened to take place during Maddow’s hour, an event most of her viewers probably weren’t interested in witnessing. Additionally, Richard Engel sat in for Maddow on Friday.

Despite the year-over-year drop off, MSNBC was still the second-most-watched network on basic cable last week.

Basic Cable Top 10 – Prime time (Total Viewers)

  1. Fox News (2,761,000)
  2. MSNBC (1,616,000)
  3. USA (1,459,000)
  4. HGTV (1,424,000)
  5. TBS (1,042,000)
  6. Investigation Discovery (1,003,000)
  7. History (970,000)
  8. TLC (921,000)
  9. Food Network (885,000)
  10. CNN (851,000)

Basic Cable Top 10 – Total Day (Total Viewers)

  1. Fox News (1,545,000)
  2. Nickelodeon (916,000)
  3. MSNBC (900,000)
  4. HGTV (780,000)
  5. Investigation Discovery (734,000)
  6. USA (683,000)
  7. CNN (601,000)
  8. Hallmark Channel (572,000)
  9. ESPN (547,000)
  10. TNT (530,000)

Here’s how Fox Business Network performed in the ratings last week:

Business Day (9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. ET)

  • FBN: 209,000 total viewers / 22,000 A25-54
  • CNBC: 150,000 total viewers / 24,000 A25-54

Market Hours (9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. ET)

  • FBN: 215,000 total viewers / 22,000 A25-54
  • CNBC: 152,000 total viewers / 24,000 A25-54

Total Day (6 a.m.-6 a.m. ET)

  • FBN: 152,000 total viewers / 18,000 A25-54
  • CNBC: 125,000 total viewers / 36,000 A25-54

Business Programs Ranker (Total Viewers)

  1. Lou Dobbs Tonight (338,000)
  2. Varney & Co (262,000)
  3. Countdown to the Closing Bell (190,000)
  4. Cavuto Coast to Coast (180,000)
  5. After the Bell (171,000)
  6. The Evening Edit with Elizabeth MacDonald (171,000)
  7. Intelligence Report with Trish Regan (168,000)
  8. Fast Money Halftime Report (159,000)

Basic Cable Ranker: Week of July 9 (Total Viewers)

Basic Cable Ranker: Week of July 9 (A25-54)