Last Week, Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN Were the Three-Most-Watched Networks on Cable

By A.J. Katz 

Cable news is benefiting from the Judge Brett Kavanaugh controversy from a ratings standpoint. That’s a fact.

Fox News was No. 1 basic cable network for the week of Sept. 24, in total viewers and in prime time viewers, per Nielsen. That’s not really surprising anymore. But what is more newsworthy is that the of Sept. 24 was the best week of the year for FNC from a total audience standpoint.

Buoyed by coverage of the Kavanaugh hearings, FNC garnered 2 million viewers (+50 percent year-over-year) and 411,000 in the 25-54 demo, marking 38 consecutive weeks as the most-watched basic cable network in total day. In prime time, FNC acquired 3.24 million total viewers (+41 percent year-over-year) and 648,000 in the 25-54 demo.

On Thursday, Fox News was No. 1 for coverage of the hearings led by Martha MacCallum and Bret Baier with 5.7 million total viewers and 1.1 million in the 25-54 demo from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Hannity was the top-rated show across the board, having its second-highest telecast in both categories since returning to the 9 p.m. timeslot with 5,857,000 million total viewers and 1,366,000 million in the demo.

MSNBC was the third-most-watched network on basic cable for the week, delivering more than 2.1 million total in prime time (+26 percent year-over-year) and No. 2 in total day with 1.28 million viewers (+39 percent).

CNN was No. 4 in prime time, averaging 1.19 million total viewers (+23 percent year-over-year), and No. 3 in total day, averaging 936,000 viewers (+31 percent year-over-year).

Basic Cable Top 5 (Total Viewers)


  1. Fox News (3,239,000)
  2. ESPN (2,528,000)
  3. MSNBC (2,116,000)
  4. CNN (1,193,000)
  5. USA (1,136,000)


  1. FNC (2,027,000)
  2. MSNBC (1,281,000)
  3. CNN (936,000)
  4. ESPN (860,000)
  5. Nickelodeon (778,000)

Basic cable network ranker: Week of Sept. 24 (Total Viewers)