Here Are the Most-Watched Cable News Shows of 2017

By A.J. Katz 

Fox News claimed 13 of the top 15 cable news programs in total viewers and 8 out of the top 10 in the A25-54 demo for the first quarter of 2017.

Additionally, all Fox News programs were up double-digits in both viewers and demo compared to the same quarter last year, and many posted record-setting quarters in their respective hours. They include Fox & Friends, Shepard Smith Reporting, Your World with Neil Cavuto, The Five, Special Report with Bret Baier, Tucker Carlson Tonight and Hannity.

Not only does The O’Reilly Factor remain No. 1 across cable news in total viewers, but it also delivered the most-watched quarter in network and cable news history.


MaddowMSNBCMSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show had a noteworthy Q1 ’17 in its own right. Not only did her program have its best quarter ever, but it delivered the network’s best quarterly ratings performance in the 9 p.m. hour, and ranked No. 6 overall in the key demo. Outside of Fox News, Maddow had the No. 1 program for the quarter, both in total viewers and in the key news demo. Three more MSNBC programs delivered their respective time period’s largest total audiences ever for the quarter: Hardball with Chris Matthews at 7 p.m., The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell at 10 p.m. and The 11thHour with Brian Williams at 11 p.m.

Anderson Cooper 360 was CNN’s No. 1 program for the quarter. The program ranked No. 8 across cable news among viewers 25-54, and No. 20 in total viewers. The 8 p.m. hour of AC 360 delivered its most-watched quarter on record since launching in the hour, both in the demo and among total viewers.

Additionally, The Lead with Jake TapperErin Burnett OutFront, and CNN Tonight with Don Lemon all had record viewership in both the A25-54 demo and total viewers for the quarter. These programs, along with The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, were among cable news’s top 25 in the demo.

Repeats and acquisitions seemed to deliver the largest audiences this quarter for HLN and CNBC, respectively. Forensic Files, a TLC acquisition, was the HLN’s top program, both in total viewers and in the demo, while Shark Tank, an ABC acquisition, was No. 1 for CNBC.

Secret Lives of the Super Rich was CNBC’s most-watched original series, while How it Really Happened was HLN’s most-watched original series.

Lou Dobbs Tonight was Fox Business’s most-watched show, and out-performed all CNBC programs when it came to total viewers. It ranked No. 56 overall across cable news among total viewers. Varney & Co. and Cavuto Coast to Coast also delivered significant total audiences for the network this part quarter.

Q1 2017: Cable News Program Ranker (Total Viewers)

Q1 2017: Cable News Program Ranker (A25-54)