October 2016 Ratings: Fox News is No. 1 in Basic Cable For a Record-Setting 5th Month

By A.J. Katz 

October 2016 was the most-watched month for Fox News in prime time since October 2012. The network also set a new record as the most-watched basic cable network for the 5th month this year, both in prime time and in total day.

FNC was up +74 percent in total prime time viewers and up +126 percent in the 25-54 demo vs. the same month last year, marking its top month in both measurements since October 2012.

Fox News edged CNN by 5,000 A25-54 viewers in weekday prime time (Mon-Fri, 8 – 11 p.m.), but fell to its rival in the demo during the standard Monday – Sunday prime time daypart. While Fox News continues to win weekdays, weekends are proving a bit more problematic, particularly when it comes to capturing viewers in the demo. This is something to keep an eye on as we head into an election-less 2017.


The ratings for October, 2016 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):

  • Prime time (Mon-Sun): 3,062,000 total viewers / 663,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 1,547,000 total viewers / 327,000 A25-54

Fox News claimed eight of the top 10 programs for the month in total viewers and five out of the top 10 in the 25-54 demo. Additionally, every program on FNC was up double-digits in both viewers and demo compared to the same month last year. Special Report with Bret Baier was +14 percent in total viewers  and +37 percent in the key demo. On the Record with Brit Hume was +17 percent in viewers and +37 percent in the demo, despite losing to Erin Burnett in the latter category. The O’Reilly Factor marked its 191st month as the No. 1 show in cable news with 3,383,000 in total viewers (+21 percent) and 621,000 in the demo (+44 percent).

The Kelly File finished October as the No. 1 cable news program in the demo, delivering 641,000 viewers (+71 percent) and 2,984,000 total viewers (+34 percent). Hannity delivered the biggest year-over-year improvement, and posted its most-watched month since October 2013 when the show moved to 10 p.m. Hannity averaged 2,495,000 total viewers (+65 percent) and 571,000 in the demo (+89 percent).

On October 19th, Fox News delivered record-breaking viewership for the final presidential debate, which was moderated by Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace (11.4 million viewers). No broadcast or cable network delivered more viewers for the debate.