October ’22 Ratings: Top-Ranked Fox News Gains Viewers From September, Down Year-Over-Year in Primetime

By A.J. Katz 

Fox News Channel:

Fox News finished October 2022 as the most-watched basic cable network in total day, averaging 1.48 million total viewers from 6 a.m.-6 a.m. and marking 21 consecutive months at No. 1. in the daypart.

This is according to live-plus-same-day data for the month of October from Nielsen.


In addition to averaging 1.48 million total day viewers in October, the network also averaged 206,000 adults 25-54 in total day. Compared to the previous month of September, Fox News gained +5% in total day viewers and +2% in the total day demo.

How about Fox News primetime? In addition to ranking No. 2 on all of basic cable in total viewers, the network remains far and away No. 1 in cable news, averaging 2.29 million viewers in the daypart. After recent monthly audience losses, the 2.29 million primetime viewer average in October represents a solid +8% gain from September. Additionally, FNC also averaged 295,000 adults 25-54 for October in primetime, which happens to be +5% from what the network averaged in the daypart om September.

Relative to October of last year, Fox News gained +6% in total day viewers, but shed -8% in total day demo, shed less than -1% in total primetime viewers and -14% in the primetime demo.

The Five remained the most-watched show on all of cable news for the seventh consecutive month, averaging 3.41 million viewers in October during the 5 p.m. hour. Tucker Carlson Tonight (3.3 million), Jesse Watters Primetime (2.91 million), Hannity (2.74 million) and Special Report with Bret Baier (2.495 million). Tucker Carlson Tonight remained the top-rated cable news show in October among adults 25-54 (470,000). FNC had the top 15 shows in the demo, and the top 13 in average total viewers.


When it comes to primetime viewing, MSNBC fell from third place in September to fourth place in October. The network averaged 1.18 million total primetime viewers this past month, fewer than ESPN (2.78 million), Fox News (2.29 million) and a MLB Playoffs-driven TBS (1.425 million). MSNBC also averaged 751,000 total day viewers in October, No. 3 on basic cable in total day behind Fox News and ESPN.

Relative to the prior month (September ’22), NBCU’s politics-focused cable network shed -5% in total primetime viewers—and -1% among adults 25-54 (114,000 vs. 115,000). MSNBC saw month-to-month losses in total day viewing as well — down -5% in total viewers—and -2% among adults 25-54 (80,000 vs. 82,000).

When it comes to MSNBC year-over-year trends, the story in October is more mixed. The primetime trend is still negative, with the network -2% in total viewers and -19% in the demo (114,000 vs. 140,000). The total day trend is positive. Relative to Oct. 2021, MSNBC grows by +10% in total viewers and +3% in the key A25-54 demo (80,000 vs. 78,000). MSNBC’s growth in total day as opposed to primetime was likely due to the network being the top destination for live coverage of the ninth January 6th Committee hearing (Oct. 13; 1-3:30 p.m.). MSNBC ranked No. 1 among all TV networks for the eighth straight hearing and No. 1 among cable news networks for the ninth straight hearing.

The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell was MSNBC’s most-watched show for the second consecutive month (1.49 million at 10 p.m.). Fewer editions of the weekly The Rachel Maddow Show and declining ratings for Alex Wagner‘s new show continue to drag the network’s 9 p.m. hour down, also causing an overall month-to-month drop-off in primetime for MSNBC. On a network level, MSNBC continues to average fewer adults 25-54 than CNN, but far larger total audiences than its main cable news competitor.


CNN beat MSNBC in the key A25-54 demo, but the network saw the substantial viewership losses from September. In fact, CNN’s 624,000 total primetime viewer average in October represents the smallest average primetime audience year to-date, and is -9% from what the network averaged in September (624,000 vs. 682,000). CNN also lost -1% of its primetime demo audience from September (134,000 vs. 136,000).

CNN averaged 533,000 total day viewers in October, -8% from September (533,000 vs. 580,000). The network also averaged 106,000 adults 25-54 in total day, which is -5% from September (106,000 vs. 111,000).

Like MSNBC, CNN’s year-over-year ratings trend story is mixed: Negative in primetime, positive in total day. CNN gained +5% in total day viewers in October 2022 (533,000 vs. 487,000), and +9% in the total day demo (106,000 vs. 101,000). However, the network is down by -6% in total primetime viewers (624,000 vs. 661,000) and -1% in the primetime demo (134,000 vs. 136,000) versus Oct. 2021.

The Lead is CNN’s most-watched show for the month of October (839,000), while Erin Burnett Outfront averaged the most adults 25-54 of any CNN show (189,000).

Finally, in addition to its No. 1 ranking in total primetime cable viewers, ESPN ranked No. 1 in the primetime demo and No. 1 in the total day demo. The network gained +15% in total primetime viewers from September (2.8 million vs. 2.42 million), but shed -3% in total day viewers (885,000 vs. 917,000).

October ’22 cable news ratings, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen live-same-day data):

• Total Viewers: 2,292,000 1,177,000 624,000
• A25-54: 295,000 114,000 134,000




• Total Viewers: 1,482,000 751,000 533,000
• A25-54: 206,000 80,000 106,000




Here’s the basic cable ranker for October 2022, sorted by most to fewest total viewers:

October ’22 (Total Viewers)