June 2022 Cable Network Ranker: Fox News Remains Most-Watched in Total Day and Prime; MSNBC’s Ratings Growth Driven by Jan. 6 Hearings

By A.J. Katz 

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New month, same trend: Fox News Channel averaged the largest total audience of any basic cable network.

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data for the month of June 2022, Fox News was the most-watched basic cable network in total day, averaging 1.38 million viewers across the 6 a.m.-6 a.m. daypart. That’s now 16 straight months that FNC has finished as the most-watched network in that daypart. FNC also gained the No. 2 ranking among adults 25-54 in total day (212,000) edged by ESPN (214,000). Fox News also garnered the No. 1 spot in total primetime viewers (2.17 million) and the No. 2 spot among adults 25-54 in primetime (319,000). In addition to earning the top spot in the total day demo, ESPN averaged the most adults 25-54 on basic cable in primetime (528,000), boosted by coverage of the 2022 NBA Playoffs/NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs and college baseball/softball.

But back to Fox News. Compared to its May ’22 performance, FNC shed -4% in average total prime time audience and -9% of its primetime demo audience. In total day, the network shed -5% in average total viewers and -7% in adults 25-54.

Despite the month-to-month audience drop-off, Fox News continues to dominate its main cable news competition in the key categories most hours of the day.

MSNBC benefited significantly from live breaking news coverage of the Jan. 6 committee hearings in June. In fact, no network averaged more viewers across all of the hearings than MSNBC, averaging three million viewers per hearing — primetime and daytime, alike. NBCU’s politics-focused network was the second-most-watched basic cable network in June in total day, averaging 767,000 viewers (+21% from May). MSNBC was also the second-most-watched basic cable network for June in primetime, averaging 1.28 million viewers in the daypart. The 1.28 million primetime viewer average is +26% from what the network averaged in May. MSNBC also averaged 137,000 adults 25-54 in primetime (+30% from May) and 86,000 adults 25-54 in total day (+23% from May). MSNBC did come up short to rival CNN in the A25-54 demo.

Speaking of CNN, the network might have beat MSNBC in the key demo, but it didn’t perform quite as well in total viewers. CNN ranked No. 12 across basic cable in June when it came to average total primetime viewers (654,000), and No. 5 in total day viewers (487,000) for the month of June. Relative to May, CNN shed -1% of its average total primetime audience and -1% of its primetime demo audience (148,000). The network shed -3% in total day viewers, and -2% in the total day demo (104,000) from May.

How about year-over-year trend? Fox News gained viewers from the same month one year ago in multiple measurements, +2% in total primetime viewers, +18% in total day viewers, +9% in the total day demo, but shed -3% in the primetime demo. MSNBC lost -2% in total primetime viewers, -3% in the primetime demo, gained +1% in total day viewers but shed -13% in the total day demo from June 2021, as the linear network continues to skew older. CNN lost -18% of its June 2021 primetime audience, -17% from the primetime demo, -16% in total day viewers and -22% in the total day demo.

Fox News, MSNBC, ESPN, HGTV, INSP, Hallmark, Discovery, TLC, History and TNT were the 10-most-watched basic cable networks for June ’22 in primetime. Fox News,  MSNBC, HGTV, ESPN, CNN, Hallmark, INSP, Food Network, ID and TV Land were the 10-most-watched basic cable networks for June in total day (6 a.m.-6 a.m.).

Below are the basic cable network ranker for June ’22. It is sorted by most to fewest average total viewers.

June ’22 Cable Ranker (Total Viewers)

Below are the basic cable network ranker for June ’22. It is sorted by most to fewest adults 25-54.

June ’22 Cable Ranker (Adults 25-54)

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