October 2018 Ratings: Fox News Channel Averaged More Total Viewers Than CNN and MSNBC Combined

By A.J. Katz Comment

When we write cable news ratings stories, we try to highlight losses and issues when they exist. But to be frank, October 2018 was just a really good month for Fox News Channel from a ratings perspective.

FNC was +25 percent in total prime time viewers, +16 percent in total day viewers, +13 percent in the prime time demo, and +3 percent in the total day demo vs. October 2017. The network actually averaged more viewers across the 24-hour day in Oct. 2018 than it did in Oct. 2016, which was the month before a presidential election.

FNC marked 28 consecutive months as the No. 1 basic cable network in total day with nearly 1.7 million total viewers for the month of October 2018, and the 5th consecutive month as the most-watched basic cable network in prime time with more than 2.8 million total viewers, according to Nielsen data. The No. 1 ranking in prime time is impressive considering how sports-driven the month of October is. But this news cycle is unlike any other we have seen.

Oct. 2018 was quite a newsy month, from Hurricane Michael, to coverage of bomb threats, the domestic terror attack in a Pittsburgh synagogue, and a “migrant caravan” in the latter half of the month.

Fox News was the most-watched network in cable news for the 202nd consecutive month. It also beat CNN and MSNBC combined in total viewers in prime time, and across the 24-hour day.

The ratings for October, 2018 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):

  • Prime time (Mon-Sun): 2,829,000 total viewers / 540,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 1,685,000 total viewers / 332,000 A25-54

Basic Cable Top 10: October 2018 (Prime Time)

  1. Fox News – 2,829,000
  2. ESPN – 2,698,000
  3. TBS – 2,487,000
  4. MSNBC – 1,575,000
  5. FS1 – 1,339,000
  6. USA – 1,168,000
  7. Hallmark Channel – 1,158,000
  8. HGTV – 1,120,000
  9. CNN – 931,000
  10. TNT – 911,000

Basic Cable Top 10: October 2018 (Total Day)

  1. Fox News – 1,685,000
  2. ESPN – 964,000
  3. MSNBC – 909,000
  4. Nickelodeon – 766,000
  5. TBS – 760,000
  6. Hallmark Channel – 690,000
  7. CNN – 689,000
  8. HGTV – 656,000
  9. Investigation Discovery – 639,000
  10. USA – 576,000

Here’s the full basic cable network ranker for the month of October:

Basic Cable Ranker: October 2018 (Total Viewers)

On the programming front – Fox News was also home to the top 5 cable news programs for the month of October, both in total viewers and in the key A25-54 demo. Not often is Rachel Maddow not in the top five, but that was the case in October.

Hannity was the most-watched cable news program for the 7th consecutive month, while programs, including Tucker Carlson Tonight, The Story with Martha MacCallum, The Ingraham Angle, Outnumbered Overtime with Harris Faulkner, The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino and FOX News @ Night with Shannon Bream delivered all-time highs among total viewers. The Story, The Ingraham Angle and Fox News @ Night also delivered all-time highs in the 25-54 demo.


Fox Business ratings, Oct. 2018:


Business Day:

  • FBN: 217,000 total viewers / 24,000 A25-54
  • CNBC: 177,000 total viewers / 35,000 A25-54


Total Day:

  • FBN: 152,000 total viewers / 20,000 A25-54
  • CNBC: 140,000 total viewers / 42,000 A25-54


Business News Ranker (Total Viewers):

  • Lou Dobbs Tonight (367,000)
  • Varney & Co. (252,000)
  • Countdown to the Closing Bell with Liz Claman (224,000)
  • After the Bell (197,000)
  • Cavuto: Coast to Coast (196,000).

Additionally, Trish Regan Prime Time scored FBN’s highest-rated week in the 8 p.m. ET timeslot.