Driven by Town Halls, Wall-to-Wall Coverage of COVID-19, Q1 2020 Is Most-Watched Quarter in Fox News History

By A.J. Katz 

Hosting presidential town halls, coverage of primary debates and most recently wall-to-wall coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, to go with daily White House coronavirus task force briefings, Fox News Channel has wrapped up its most-watched quarter in network history in both total day and prime time. In total day, the network averaged 1.9 million viewers, and in prime time it averaged 3.4 million viewers for the first quarter of 2020.

Not only did Fox News set records in terms of total audience, but it delivered its largest A25-54 audience since Q1 of 2017 in total day, and largest since Q4 2016 in prime time.

FNC was also the most-watched network on all of cable television across both total day and prime time, marking 15 consecutive quarters in the top spot in total day.

Compared to Q1 2019, Fox News posted +38% growth in both total day and prime-time viewership. The year-over-year growth was stronger among Adults 25-54: FNC was +40% in the prime-time demo and +42% in the total day demo this past quarter versus Q1 2019. The more significant year-over-year growth among younger audiences is likely due to the unprecedented nature of the current news cycle, which was bound to bring younger and traditionally more casual TV news consumers into the fold.

Here are Fox News’ ratings for Q1 of 2020:

  • Prime time (Mon-Sun): 3,387,000 total viewers / 585,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun):  1,930,000 total viewers / 359,000 A25-54

On the programming front, FNC claimed 13 of the top 15 cable news programs in Total viewers, as well as 10 of the top 15 in the 25-54 demo. Additionally, each weekday Fox News program from 5-11 p.m. delivered its largest quarterly audience ever.

Hannity was the No. 1 show on cable news, and averaged a larger total audience than a number of broadcast series, including the morning newsers.

Tucker Carlson Tonight came in second on cable news with over 4 million viewers and 730,000 in the demo. The Ingraham Angle finished No. 3 with nearly 3.6 million viewers and 630,000 in the 25-54 demo. The Five came in at No. 4 with 3.6 million viewers and 608,000 in the 25-54 demo.

Additionally, FBN, which recently reshuffled its programming lineup and parted ways with 8 p.m. host Trish Regan, still managed to deliver its highest-rated quarter in network history in both Total Day and Business Day. Lou Dobbs delivered a record 422,000 total viewers in Q1, and is now moving to 5 p.m.

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