Second Presidential Debate Lifts Cable News’ Big 3 Into Top 5

By A.J. Katz 

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It was a huge week for cable news, highlighted by Fox News, CNN, MSNBC and Fox Business each televising the vice presidential debate on Monday Oct. 4, and the second presidential debate this on Sunday, Oct. 9. As one might expect, each of those networks delivered triple-digit year-over-year gains in total prime time viewers.

Fox News finished the week of October 3rd as the second-most-watched prime time cable network, and the No. 1 ad-supported cable network in total day viewers for the 8th consecutive week. FNC delivered a 102 percent improvement in prime time viewers, and a 53 percent improvement in total day viewers from the same week in 2015.

CNN ranked No. 3 in total prime time viewers, and No. 2 in total day viewers. CNN beat its cable news competition across the board when it came to ratings for the second presidential debate. The network grew a wild +486 percent in total prime time viewers and +193 percent in total day viewers from the same week last year.

MSNBC took the No. 5 spot for the week of October 3rd, both in prime time and total day. The network delivered a +250 percent total prime time viewer gain and a +165 percent total day viewer gain from the comparable week last year.

HLN ranked No. 46 in total prime time viewers this past week, gaining 14 percent from the same week last year. HLN ranked No. 34 in total day, and -4 percent in total day viewers year-over-year.

CNBC ranked No. 50 in total prime time viewers, losing 24 percent from the same week last year. The network ranked No. 62 in total day viewers, down 26 percent year-over-year.

Fox Business had a great week, thanks to its prime time presentations of both the VP and presidential debates. FBN ranked No. 61 in prime time, growing 295 percent year-over-year, and ranked No. 60 in total day, up 105 percent year-over-year.

The combination of college football, Monday Night Football and the SF Giants-NY Mets MLB Wild Card Game led ESPN to a huge week, and consequently a No. 1 ranking in total prime time viewers. Playoff baseball lifted TBS to a No. 4 prime time ranking.

Top 5 – Primetime (P2+)

  1. ESPN (3,956,000)
  2. FNC (3,539,000)
  3. CNN (2,782,000)
  4. TBS (2,234,000)
  5. MSNBC (2,025,000)

 

Top 5 – Total Day (P2+)

  1. FNC (1,601,000)
  2. CNN (1,200,000)
  3. ESPN (1,187,000)
  4. NICK (1,078,000)
  5. MSNBC (949,000)

 

Cable Network Ranker: Week of Oct. 3 (Total Viewers)

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