May ’22 Basic Cable Network Ranker: Fox News Is No. 1 in Total Day, TNT Is No. 1 in Primetime

By A.J. Katz 

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data for the month of May, Fox News Channel was the most-watched basic cable network in total day, averaging 1.46 million viewers across the 6 a.m.-6 a.m. daypart. That’s now 15 straight months that FNC has finished as the most-watched network in that daypart. It’s also the second-most-watched May in network history, only behind May 2020.

Fox News took the No. 2 spot in total primetime viewers (2.27 million), with TNT averaging the largest total audience in primetime (2.74 million), boosted by coverage of the 2022 NBA Playoffs.

Compared to its April ’22 performance, Fox News shed -4% in average total prime time audience and -4% of its primetime demo audience (351,000). In total day, the network -4% in average total viewers and -8% in adults 25-54 (229,000).


MSNBC was the fourth-most-watched basic cable network in May in total day, averaging 634,000 viewers, and the No. 4 basic cable network for April in primetime, averaging 1.02 million viewers in the daypart. The 634,000 is -5% from what the network averaged in April, and the 1.02 million figure is -9% from April. MSNBC also 105,000 adults 25-54 in primetime (-15% from April), marking its lowest A25-54 average in the daypart since 2004. The network also in 70,000 A25-54 total day average (-7% from April), which is the network’s smallest delivery in the measurement since 1999.

CNN ranked No. 12 across basic cable in average total primetime viewers (660,000), and No. 6 in total day viewers (500,000) for the month of May. Relative to April, CNN shed -5% of its average total primetime audience, and -11% of its primetime demo audience (150,000). The network shed -14% in total day viewers, and -20% in the total day demo (106,000) from April.

CNN beat MSNBC when it came to adults 25-54, both in total day and in primetime, while MSNBC beat CNN in average total viewers.

All three major cable news outlets lost viewers this past month from April. CNN and MSNBC also shed viewers from April 2021, while Fox News continues to deliver audience growth in 2021.

Fox News and cable networks carrying live sports dominated the April rankings, as expected.

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

Driven by its coverage of the NBA and NHL Playoffs, TNT and ESPN were top two basic cable networks in primetime among adults 25-54, followed by Fox News.

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

May ’22 Ranker (Total Viewers)