Here Are the Top Cable News Programs for Q1 2019

By A.J. Katz 

Sean Hannity was the No. 1 cable news host for the first quarter of 2019. Rachel Maddow was the No. 1 cable news host for first quarter of 2019. Wait, what? It depends on how you slice it.

Hannity averaged the most total viewers of any cable news show for the quarter, 3.1 million, per live-plus-same-day data from Nelsen.

Maddow, however, averaged the most viewers from the Adults 25-54 demographic the category that news advertisers traditionally take the most seriously. TRMS averaged 549,000 adults 25-54 over 62 original telecasts.


Outside of Maddow, Q1 was dominated by Fox News programming. The network claimed four of the top 5 programs in total viewers, 12 of the top 20 cable news programs in total viewers and 10 of the top 20 in the 25-54 demo for the quarter.

Tucker Carlson Tonight was the No. 1 show in the 8 p.m. timeslot, and No. 3 across cable news among adults 25-54 and in total viewers. The Five dominated the 5 p.m. ET hour, while The Ingraham Angle cruised to victory in the 10 p.m. ET timeslot.

The only hour where Fox News really didn’t dominate was 11 p.m., as Fox News @ Night with Shannon Bream finished No. 2 behind The 11th Hour with Brian Williams.

Speaking of MSNBC, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell ranked No. 6 in total viewers, All In with Chris Hayes was No. 8, while the aforementioned 11th Hour came in at No. 10.

Over on CNN, Cuomo Prime Time was the network’s most-watched show for the quarter, averaging a 1.3 million viewers per night, which is +23 percent vs. what the network averaged in the 9 p.m. Q1 of last year.

When it comes to ranking by adults 25-54, Cuomo Prime Time made it into the cable news top 10 for Q1, coming in at No. 8. Anderson Cooper 360 ranked No. 10 in the demo.

Interestingly, CNN and MSNBC had the same number of programs in the A25-54 top 10 (two). Fox News programming took up the other six spots.

Cable news morning show ratings: Q1 ’19 (Nielsen live-plus-same-day data)

Total Viewers / A25-54

  • Fox & Friends : 1,465,000 million / 289,000
  • Morning Joe: 1,178,000 million / 217,000
  • New Day: 561,000 / 169,000

Below, the weekday cable news program rankers for Q1 2019. The first is sorted by total viewers, the second by Adults 25-54.

Q1 2019 Cable News Ranker (Total Viewers)

Q1 2019: Cable News Ranker (Adults 25-54)