March 2019 Cable News Ranker: Fox News’ Wall-to-Wall Coverage of Mueller Report Summary Delivers Huge Audiences

By A.J. Katz 

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Controversy in March didn’t seem to hurt Fox News Channel from a ratings standpoint. If anything, it may have helped.

FNC ended March 2019 as the most-watched network across cable television, and it wasn’t particularly close.

In total day, Fox News garnered 1.43 million total viewers, +7 percent vs. March 2018 and 253,000 in the 25-54 demo, which is -6 percent vs. March 2018. In prime time, FNC averaged with 2.5 total viewers, which is +11 percent vs. the prior March and 419,000 in the 25-54 demo, -6 percent vs. the prior March.

Wall-to-wall coverage of the Mueller report summary really gave the network a significant lift in the ratings, negating any hit the network potentially could have taken from TBS/TNT March Madness coverage. Turner networks will still win the month in the demos, thanks to March Madness, but Fox News is taking the top spot in total viewers.

President Trump gave a shout out to Fox News ratings during his Michigan rally, and Hannity’s on-air phoner with the President on Wednesday, March 27 drew 4.3 million total viewers, more than many broadcast shows.

Speaking of Hannity, he held onto its status as the No. 1 cable news show in total viewers for the second consecutive month. Perhaps the bigger story though is for the first time, Tucker Carlson Tonight was the No. 1 show on cable news among adults 25-54, moving past Hannity and The Rachel Maddow Show during the month of March.

Carlson finished No. 2 in total viewers, also ahead of Maddow.

The Ingraham Angle, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Special Report with Bret Baier, The Story with Martha MacCallum, All In With Chris Hayes, and Hardball with Chris Matthews were the 10-most-watched cable news shows for the month of March (in that order).

Among Adults 25-54, the aforementioned Carlson was No. 1, followed by Hannity, Maddow, Ingraham, The Five, O’Donnell, Baier, MacCallum, Hayes and Shannon Bream in that order. Cuomo Prime Time finished No. 11, still CNN’s No. 1 program.

CNN and MSNBC, on the other hand, struggled relative to what each network delivered in March 2018.

CNN was -12 percent in total day viewers and -24 percent in the total day demo vs. the prior March. In prime time, the network was -11 percent in total viewers and -24 percent in the demo.

MSNBC was actually +1 percent in total day viewers year-over-year, but -3 percent in total prime time viewers. The network struggled in the demo once again. In March 2019, the network was -24 percent in the total day demo, and -23 percent in the prime time demo vs. the prior March.

Cable news morning show ratings: March 2019 (Nielsen live-plus-same-day data)

Total Viewers / A25-54

  • Fox & Friends : 1,504,000/ 295,000
  • Morning Joe: 1,129,000/ 200,000
  • New Day: 528,000 / 159,000

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

Cable News Program Ranker: March 2019 (Total Viewers)

Cable News Program Ranker: March 2019 (A25-54)