October Ratings: Fox News is Most-Watched Cable News Network For 190 Consecutive Months

By A.J. Katz 

Fox News won the cable news ratings war yet again.

The network defeated rivals CNN and MSNBC in total day and in prime time both in total viewers and A25-54 news demo in October 2017. This victory means that Fox News is the most-watched cable news network for a whopping 190 consecutive months.

Not only did Fox News defeat its cable news rivals, but it finished as basic cable’s most-watched network for the 16th consecutive month in total day. FNC finished No.2 in total prime time viewers across basic cable, falling short only to ESPN.


October ’17 Basic Cable Top 5 – Prime Time (total viewers)

  1. ESPN (2,829,000)
  2. Fox News (2,258,000)
  3. TBS (2,125,000)
  4. Fox Sports 1 (1,798,000)
  5. MSNBC (1,582,000)

October ’17 Basic Cable Top 5 – Total Day (total viewers)

  1. Fox News (1,451,000)
  2. ESPN (1,001,000)
  3. Nickelodeon (991,000)
  4. MSNBC (899,000)
  5. Adult Swim (761,000)

Fox News’s October 2017 ratings were significantly down from October 2016. FNC was -26 percent in total prime time viewers, and -28 percent in the prime time news demo. The network was -6 percent in total day viewers, and -2 percent among the news demo in total day.

But this isn’t exactly a shock considering October 2016 was marked by intense coverage of 2016 presidential debates, and election coverage. CNN and MSNBC also saw year-over-year prime time ratings declines for the same reason.

The ratings for October, 2017 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):

  • Prime time (Mon-Sun): 2,258,000 total viewers / 477,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 1,451,000 total viewers / 322,000 A25-54

On the programming front, Fox & Friends, Pres. Trump’s favorite show, is having its most-watched year in program history. It has been No. 1 across cable news in its time period for 192 consecutive months, and posted double digit improvement (+19 percent in total viewers / +31 percent among A25-54) this past month.

Fox News’s new afternoon shows, Outnumbered Overtime With Harris Faulker (1 p.m.) and Daily Briefing With Dana Perino (2 p.m.), won their respective hours.

The Five returned to its original 5 p.m. ET timeslot, and defeated both CNN and MSNBC in total viewers and A25-54.

And Hannity became the most-watched cable news program in its new hour. We’ll do a deeper dive into Fox News’s prime time program performance in “The Top Shows Of…” story.

Additionally, Fox Business posted +22 percent total viewer growth in Business Day (9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.) from October 2016, and delivered seven of the eight most-watched business news shows. Lou Dobbs Tonight was the No. 1 business news show of the month both in total viewers (375,000) and A25-54 (45,000), and has been No. 1 in total viewers across business news for 22 straight months.

CNBC defeated FBN among younger news viewers, including the ad-friendly A25-54 news demo.

Basic Cable Ranker: October 2017 (Total Viewers)