Oct. ’21: Fox News Dominates Cable News Competition, Is No. 1 in Total Day, But Sees Ratings Drop From September

By A.J. Katz 

Fox News Channel remained the most-watched network in all of basic cable in Oct. 2021 in total day, and continued to dominate the cable news competition in both total day and primetime. FNC averaged 1.40 million viewers and 224,000 adults 25-54 in the 6 a.m.-6 a.m. daypart, -4% and -7%, respectively, from what the network averaged in those measurements in September. Fox News also fell by -38% in total day viewers and -48% in the total day demo vs. Oct. 2020. While that trend might not look great, it’s not quite as bad as the losses rivals CNN and MSNBC experienced. Plus, Fox News set a cable news record in Oct. 2020, averaging nearly 5 million viewers in primetime that month.  Year-over-year decline was inevitable.

Speaking of primetime, Fox News averaged 2.3 million total viewers in the daypart, No. 2 on basic cable behind ESPN and 344,000 adults 25-54—behind other sports-driven cable networks in the key demo. Relative to Sept. 2021, FNC fell by -8% in total primetime viewers, and -14% in the primetime demo. Compared to the record-setting month of Oct. 2020, Fox shed -53% in total primetime viewers and -65% in adults 25-54.

The average Nielsen live plus same day impressions for Oct. 2021:

  • Prime time (Mon.-Sun.): 2,300,000 total viewers / 344,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon.-Sun.): 1,404,000 total viewers /224,000 A25-54

On the regularly-scheduled programming front—The Five ended October as the most-watched show on all of cable news, marking the first time that the Fox News panel show finished a month at No. 1 since launching in 2011. The Five averaged 3.11 million total viewers, ahead of Tucker Carlson Tonight (3.08 million). The network’s 8 p.m. offering did continue to average the most adults 25-54 of any cable news show (483,000), ahead of second-place The Five (435,000).

Additionally, Hannity took third place, averaging 2.7 million viewers at 9 p.m., followed by Special Report with Bret Baier and The Ingraham Angle rounding out cable news’ top five for October in average total viewers. Fox News shows comprised 13 of the top 15 on all of cable news in total viewers, and the top 11 among adults 25-54.

Lastly, on Fox Business, Kudlow delivered its highest-rated month since launch, averaging +10% more viewers than the 4 p.m. hour of Closing Bell. However, FBN came up short to CNBC in both total viewers and among adults 25-54 during primetime and in total day. It’s also worth noting that CNBC does not use Nielsen data to measure viewership for its Business Day programming.