October 2019 Ratings: Fox News Marks 40 Straight Months at the Top of the Basic Cable Heap

By A.J. Katz 

Fox News was the most-watched basic cable network for the month of Oct. 2019 in total day viewers (1.5 million), marking consecutive 40 months at No. 1 in the daypart.

In addition to finished No. 1 in the cable landscape among total viewers, FNC ranked ahead of CNN and MSNBC in total day demo, (243,000 vs. 190,000 vs. 180,000). In prime time, FNC averaged 406,000 adults 25-54, topping MSNBC’s 327,000 and beating CNN’s 328,000 including its October Democratic primary debate.

Yes, Fox News beat its cable news competition by a sizable margin, however not all was great. The year-over-year drop off among adults 25-54 is especially glaring.


Compared to its Oct. 2018 figures, Fox News was -5% in total prime time viewers, -13% in total day viewers, -25% in the prime time demo and -27% in the total day demo.

The ratings for October, 2019 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):

  • Prime time (Mon-Sun): 2,680,000 total viewers / 406,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun):  1,458,000 total viewers /  243,000 A25-54

On the programming front– Hannity was the No. 1 cable news program of October among adults 25-54, if one excludes the two “Hannity Specials” (which we traditionally do exclude). If the “Hannity Special” broadcasts on Oct. 18 and Oct. 25 are taken into account, then The Rachel Maddow Show is the No. 1 cable news show of the month in the demo.

Make of that what you will.

Following Hannity, FNC’s Tucker Carlson Tonight, MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, FNC’s The Ingraham Angle and The Five made up the five-most-watched programs in cable news for October.

If ranking by adults 25-54, Maddow was No. 2 (or No. 1, according to MSNBC) and Carlson was No. 3 this past month.

The top four FNC shows marked yearly highs for the month of October.

Additionally, The Story with Martha MacCallum at 7 p.m. marked a high for 2019 by averaging 2.1 million viewers and 344,000 A25-54 viewers. Fox News @ Night with Shannon Bream earned its highest-rated month of 2019, drawing in 1.5 million viewers and 278,000 in the key 25-54 demo for the 11 p.m. show (but finished No. 2 behind MSNBC’s The 11th Hour with Brian Williams).

Additionally, Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo (Sundays, 10 a.m.) averaged 1,715,000 viewers and 304,000 in the demo, beating the competition in both categories.