Q3 2020 Cable News Ranker: Fox News Is Home to 4 Highest-Rated Shows of Q3; MSNBC and CNN Also Place Shows in Top 10

By A.J. Katz 

A number of cable news hosts averaged their largest audiences for a third quarter in program history. Not only do Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson fall into that category, but their respective prime-time shows were the two highest-rated on cable news for the third quarter of 2020.

Hannity averaged the largest total audience on cable news, averaging a record-setting 4.45 million total viewers during the quarter. Granted, the country’s most popular cable news host received a bump from having his show air during the RNC and Trump rallies, but this is a massive number, nonetheless.

Tucker Carlson Tonight ranked No. 2 in total viewers for Q3 (4.35 million). The Five moved past The Ingraham Angle and into the No. 3 slot in average total viewership (3.5 million). The Angle came in at No. 4 (3.4 million), ahead of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show (3.3 million). Special Report with Bret Baier came in a distant No. 6 in total viewers (2.8 million), followed by The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell (2.46 million), The Story With Martha MacCallum (2.4 million), All In With Chris Hayes (2 million) and The 11th Hour With Brian Williams (2 million) were cable news’ 10-most-watched shows for the third quarter.


Q3 2020 Cable News Ranker (Total Viewers)

Hannity might have had the No. 1 cable news show in total viewers, with Carlson finishing in second, but the two hosts swap spots when it comes to drawing the most adults 25-54.

Carlson averaged 781,000 adults 25-54, a quarterly record in the measurement. Hannity finished close behind with 775,000 viewers from the demo each original broadcast.

The Five may have finished ahead of The Ingraham Angle in total viewers, but the latter averaged more adults 25-54 than the former (624,000 versus 527,000). Time of day might have helped, frankly.

Rachel Maddow not only came in fifth in total viewers, but she averaged the fifth-most adults 25-54 of any cable news show this past quarter (504,000). Maddow is followed by Special Report (443,000), CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time (426,000), Fox News’ The Story (420,000), Fox News @ Night With Shannon Bream (400,000) and Anderson Cooper 360 (391,000) rounding out the top 10 among adults 25-54.

Fox News places seven shows in the A25-54 top 10 , including, once again, the top four. CNN places two shows in the adults 25-54 top 10. It barely smelled the top 20 in total viewers. MSNBC placed one show in the A25-54 top 10. It placed four shows in the most-watched top 10, meaning the network is performing far better among older demos than it is with younger demos.

Q3 2020 Cable News Ranker (Adults 25-54)