Here Are the Top-Rated Cable News Shows for April 2021

By A.J. Katz 

According to live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen, Tucker Carlson Tonight is No. 1 for April 2021, not just in average total audience, but also among adults 25-54.

Once again cable television’s top-rated host, Carlson hauled in an average of 3 million total viewers, and 523,000 adults 25-54 per original broadcast in April. In March, Carlson’s 8 p.m. show averaged 3.23 million total viewers and 521, 000 demo viewers. So, a slight drop in total audience, but a gain in demo viewers.

The Five made a move up to second place in total viewers, after finishing fourth in March. MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, which ranked second in March, finished fourth in April.


Hannity finished third in total viewers in April, and the Ingraham Angle finished 5th in total viewers in April. That’s consistent with how each show finished March.

Six of the 10-most-watched shows of the month are Fox News shows, including four of the top five. The other four were MSNBC shows.

The only top-10 show to see growth in total viewers from March was MSNBC’s Deadline: White House with Nicolle Wallace, which averaged 1.66 million total viewers in April after averaging 1.64 million the previous month.

CNN’s most-watched show for April was The Lead with Jake Tapper (1.3 million). However, it was only the 17th-most-watched show on all of cable news for the month. The top 16 (in total viewers) either aired on Fox News or MSNBC.

Here’s the top 10 for April 2021, as per live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen.

  1. Fox News| 8 p.m. / Tucker Carlson Tonight: 3,023,000 / 19 telecasts
  2. Fox News| 5 p.m. / The Five: 2,733,000 /  21 telecasts
  3. Fox News | 9 p.m. / Hannity: 2,730,000 /  19 telecasts
  4. MSNBC| 9 p.m. / The Rachel Maddow Show: 2,708,000 /  20 telecasts
  5. Fox News| 10 p.m./ The Ingraham Angle: 2,071,000 /  18 telecasts
  6. Fox News| 6 p.m./ Special Report with Bret Baier: 1,842,000 / 21 telecasts
  7. MSNBC| 10 p.m./ The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell: 1,771,000 / 20 telecasts
  8. MSNBC| 4 p.m. / Deadline: White House with Nicolle Wallace: 1,658,000 / 26 telecasts
  9. MSNBC| 8 p.m. / All In with Chris Hayes: 1,642,000 / 20 telecasts
  10. Fox News| 7 p.m. / Fox News Primetime: 1,587,000 / 20 telecasts

April 2021 Cable News Show Ranker (Total Viewers)

How about the top cable news shows among adults 25-54? After all, this is a demographic that advertisers of news often focus their $$ on.

As previously mentioned, Tucker Carlson averaged the largest adults 25-54 audience of any cable news show in April by a substantial margin, as per live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen (523,000). Hannity took third place in total viewers, but his 9 p.m. show averaged more A25-54 viewers than The Five, and finished the month second overall on cable news in the demo, with 449,000.

The Five, The Rachel Maddow Show and The Ingraham Angle round out cable news top 5 for April among adults 25-54.

But it was CNN that placed the most shows in the top 10, with six, led by The Lead with Jake Tapper, which benefited greatly from CNN’s live, breaking news coverage of the Derek Chauvin trial and the verdict.

Of the top-10 cable news shows for April among the demo, Tucker Carlson Tonight, Hannity, The Five, The Ingraham Angle, The Lead, The Situation Room, and Erin Burnett Outfront all posted A25-54 audience growth from March. The Rachel Maddow Show, Cuomo Primetime and AC 360 all saw declines.

Again, this is Nielsen live-plus-same-day data:

  1. Fox News| 8 p.m./ Tucker Carlson Tonight: 523,000 / 19 telecasts
  2. Fox News| 9 p.m. / Hannity: 449,000 / 19 telecasts
  3. Fox News| 5 p.m. / The Five: 431,000 / 21 telecasts
  4. MSNBC| 9 p.m. / The Rachel Maddow Show: 396,000 / 20 telecasts
  5. Fox News| 10 p.m. / The Ingraham Angle: 379,000 / 18 telecasts
  6. CNN| 4 p.m. / The Lead with Jake Tapper: 359,000 / 20 telecasts
  7. CNN| 5-7 p.m. / The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer: 342,000 / 40 telecasts
  8. CNN| 9 p.m./ Cuomo Primetime: 340,000 / 19 telecasts
  9. CNN| 8 p.m./ Anderson Cooper 360: 329,000 / 19 telecasts
  10. CNN| 7 p.m./ Erin Burnett Outfront: 323,000 / 21 telecasts


April 2021 Cable News Show Ranker (Adults 25-54)