May 2020 Ratings: Fox News Marks 47 Consecutive Months as Most-Watched Basic Cable Network, but Shed Viewers From April

By A.J. Katz 

Covid-19 pandemic coverage, and more recently continuous coverage of nationwide protests spurred by the police murder of George Floyd, have lifted Fox News Channel to another stellar month in the ratings department.

While the network wasn’t able to match its record-setting month of April, Fox News did finish May as the most-watched basic cable network in total day and prime time. FNC has now finished as the No. 1 basic cable network in total day viewers for 47 consecutive months. That’s almost four straight years.

Versus its May 2019 ratings, a month without significant breaking news events, Fox News wrapped up May 2020 +44% in total prime-time viewers and +40% in total day viewers. The year-over-year comparison when it came to the A25-54 demo was more impressive, which makes sense considering breaking news usually brings younger viewers to cable news. FNC finished May 2020 +48% in the prime-time demo and +41% in the total day demo versus May 2019.

Yes, Fox News is America’s most-watched cable network, but the ratings story isn’t quite as rosy if we compare it with April 2020. The network shed some viewers: -7% in total prime-time viewers, -16% in total day viewers, -27% in the total day demo, -17% in the prime-time demo.

To be fair, April was the height of the pandemic.

The average Nielsen live + same day impressions for May 2020:

  • Prime time (Mon-Sun): 3,441,000 total viewers / 558,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 1,877,000 total viewers /326,000 A25-54

Hannity, Tucker Carlson Tonight and The Ingraham Angle were all No. 1 in their respective time slots. Hannity averaged 4.2 million viewers and 672,000 A25-54 viewers, No. 1 on cable news. Tucker Carlson Tonight was No. 1 on cable news among adults 25-54, averaging 700,000 viewers in that demographic in May.

The Five, The Ingraham Angle, and Special Report with Bret Baier round out the top five on cable news for the month of May.

Overall, Fox News claimed 12 of the top 15 cable news programs in total viewers, and five of the top six cable news programs in the A25-54 demo.

A more substantial cable news program ranker will come later in the week.

Lastly, FBN’s Business Day programming (9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. ET) attracted 242,000 total viewers, which is +51% year over year. During the Market daypart (9 a.m.-4 p.m.), FBN was up across the board with 248,000 total viewers (+49%).