Here Are Cable News Ratings for September 2023

By A.J. Katz 

Below are September 2023 Nielsen ratings for Fox News, MSNBC and CNN, followed by a duo of full basic cable network rankers.

Fox News Channel:

Fox News marked yet another month as the most-watched basic cable network in total day. However, it dropped to No. 2 in primetime in September behind ESPN, which saw substantial month-to-month gains driven by the return of college football.


According to Nielsen live plus same day data for the month of September 2023, Fox News Channel averaged 1.69 million total viewers in primetime, 187,000 A25-54 viewers in primetime (No. 6 on cable), 1.07 million total day viewers and 131,000 A25-54 viewers in total day (No. 2 on cable).

Fox’s 1.69 million total primetime viewer average is -17% from what the channel averaged in August. The drop off in primetime was expected, however. After all, Fox News had the first GOP primary debate broadcast in August, an event which drew more than 11 million viewers (an additional 1.7 million watched the debate on FBN). There was no debate in September to goose ratings. Additionally, Fox’s 187,000 A25-54 viewer average in primetime is -25% from what the network averaged in the measurement in August.

Shifting to total day viewing, Fox News’ 1.07 million total day viewers average is -8% from August, and the network’s 131,000 A25-54 average in total day is -9% from August.

The year-over-year ratings trend for Fox News remains quite poor. FNC shed -24% in total day viewers—and -35% in total day demo—along with a -21% in total primetime viewers and a -33% drop in the primetime demo relative to September 2022.

Despite those year-over-year losses, Fox News can still lay claim to being the top-rated cable news network in total viewers and among Adults 25-54 for 31 consecutive months.


MSNBC also shed viewers in September. But again, not a surprise. August represented MSNBC’s most-watched month in more than two years, with August ratings driven by breaking news and analysis surrounding the federal indictments of former President Donald Trump in the January 6th investigation and the 2020 Georgia election probe.

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data for September 2023, MSNBC averaged 1.22 million total viewers in primetime, No. 3 overall behind ESPN and Fox News and -% from its August primetime average. The network also averaged 116,000 A25-54 in primetime (No. 17 on basic cable), which is -31% from August.

In addition to primetime viewing, MSNBC averaged 792,000 total day viewers (No. 3 on basic cable), -17% from August, and 84,000 A25-54 viewers in total day, which is -22% from August, and tied with ESPN2 for No. 10 on all of basic cable.

Relative to Sept. 2022, MSNBC shed -1% in total primetime viewers, but gained +1% in the primetime demo, +0.1% in total day viewers and +2% in the total day demo.

MSNBC beat CNN in the primetime demo for the seventh consecutive month and in total primetime viewers for the 32nd consecutive month, but came up short to CNN in the total day demo.


CNN, like MSNBC, shed viewers in September 2023 after an August which featured in-depth coverage and analysis concerning the Trump Fulton County, Ga., grand jury indictment.

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data for September, CNN averaged 548,000 total primetime viewers (No.  on basic cable) and 457,000 total day viewers (No.  on basic cable). The network also averaged 109,000 adults 25-54 in primetime (No. 22 on basic cable) and 85,000 adults 25-54 in total day, No. 9  n basic cable.

When compared with August, CNN shed -24% in total primetime viewers—and -26% among Adults 25-54, -16% in total day viewers—and -19% among Adults 25-54 in total day. Similar to Fox News, CNN remains down from its 2022 ratings performance. Compared against Sept. 2022, CNN is -20% in total primetime viewers—and -20% in the primetime demo, -21% in total day viewers—and -23% in the total day demo.

September 2023 cable news network ratings (Nielsen live plus same day data)

PRIMETIME Fox News MSNBC CNN Newsmax NewsNation
• Total Viewers: 1,688,000 1,218,000 548,000 280,000 84,000
• A25-54: 187,000 116,000 109,000 28,000 18,000




TOTAL DAY Fox News MSNBC CNN Newsmax NewsNation
• Total Viewers: 1,072,000 792,000 457,000 169,000 58,000
• A25-54: 131,000 84,000 85,000 17,000 12,000




Here are the full ad-supported basic cable network rankers for September 2023:

Sept. 2023 (Total Viewers)

Sept. 2023 (Adults 25-54)