Q2 ’21 Ratings: Fox News Is America’s Most-Watched Cable Network, But Sheds Viewers From 2020

By A.J. Katz 

Fox News Is America’s Most-Watched Cable Network

Fox News Channel is back in the driver’s seat.

Not only did the network average the most total viewers on cable TV for the quarter (marking six consecutive quarters at No. 1 in prime time), but it swept its cable news competition in total day and prime time total viewers and in the key 25-54 demo, reclaiming its lead in all categories, according to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data.

In total day, Fox News averaged roughly 1.2 million viewers, and 204,000 in the A25-54 demo.  In prime, FNC averaged nearly 2.2 million viewers, and 347,000 in the demo. FNC claimed five of the top six cable news programs in overall viewers, seven of the top eight in the key 25-54 demo and comprised 39 of the top 100 cable telecasts.


Compared to the most recent quarter, when Fox News finished No. 1 in prime time, but fell to third place in average total day, Fox shed -12% of its average total prime time audience and -11% in the prime time demo. FNC fell by -10% in total day viewers and -8% in total day demo. So, while Fox News experienced a quarter-to-quarter ratings decline, its losses were nowhere near what CNN and MSNBC endured.

Fox News’ year-over-year losses were sharper. The network shed -39% of its average total audience, -44% in the prime time demo, 39% in total day viewers and -44% in the total day demo. Now, to be fair, Fox News set cable news records in Q2 2020. Tucker Carlson Tonight averaged more than 4.3 million total viewers per original broadcast, a quarterly record for a cable news show, and the network as a whole averaged 3.57 million viewers in prime time and 1.96 million in total day – also cable news records for quarterly viewership.

So, a steep decline in Q2 2021 was expected.

Compared to four years ago, (Q2 2017) Fox News slid by -7% in total prime time viewers, and -26% in the prime time demo. In total day, the network shed -19% in total day viewers and -35% in the total day demo.

Here are Fox News’ ratings for Q2 of 2021:

  • Prime time (Mon-Sun): 2,176,000 total viewers / 347,000 A25-54
  • Total day (Mon-Sun): 1,190,000 total viewers / 204,000 A25-54

Tucker Carlson Tonight (8 p.m.) completed the quarter as the No. 1 cable news program in all relevant categories, averaging 2.9 million viewers and 487,000 in the A25-54 demo. Hannity (9 p.m.), followed, averaging 2.7 million viewers for the quarter, 420,000 in the key demo. The Five, MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, and The Ingraham Angle round out the top five in total viewers. The Ingraham Angle out-performed TRMS among adults 25-54.