Fox News Channel finished September 2022 as the most-watched network on basic cable in total day, averaging 1.41 million total viewers and marking 20 consecutive months at No. 1. in the daypart. ESPN averaged the most total viewers of any basic cable network in primetime with 2.42 million.
This is according to live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen.
Fox News officially completed its 20th consecutive month as the most-watched basic cable network in total day (6 a.m.-6 a.m. daypart). In addition to averaging 1.41 million total day viewers in September, the network also averaged 201,000 adults 25-54 in total day. Compared to the previous month of August, Fox News shed -5% in total day viewers and -5% in the total day demo. How about Fox News primetime? In addition to ranking No. 2 on all of basic cable, the network remains far and away No. 1 in cable news, averaging 2.13 million in the daypart. However, that 2.13 million figure represents a -9% in total primetime viewers from August. Additionally, FNC also averaged 280,000 adults 25-54 in primetime this month. Again, that’s substantially more than the competition, but also happens to be -10% from what the network averaged in August, when viewers flocked to the network for coverage surrounding the FBI search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.
Fox News shed -4% in total day viewers and -16% in the total day demo, -15% in total primetime viewers and -30% in the primetime demo relative to September 2021.
The Five remained the most-watched show not only on Fox News but on all of cable news, averaged nearly 3.3 million viewers in September during the 5 p.m. hour. Tucker Carlson Tonight, Jesse Watters Primetime, Hannity and Special Report with Bret Baier follow. Tucker Carlson Tonight remained the top-rated cable news show in September among adults 25-54 (438,000). FNC had the top 15 shows in the demo, with CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 coming in at No. 16 (187,000 at 8 p.m.).
The return of football for ESPN pushed MSNBC from second down to third place on basic cable, both in total day (791,000 viewers) and in total primetime viewers ( 1.23 million).
Relative to the prior month (August ’22), NBCU’s politics-focused cable network shed -5% in total primetime viewers—and shed -14% among adults 25-54 from the previous month. Like Fox News, MSNBC also saw month-to-month losses in total day viewing— down -2% in total viewers and -8% among adults 25-54. The story is different for MSNBC relative to September 2021. The network shed total viewers in primetime (-3%) but gained them in total day (+10%), yet lost -24% in the primetime demo and -1% in the total day demo from the year-ago month, as MSNBC continues to skew older on an annual basis.
MSNBC ranked No. 25 in the primetime demo (115,000 adults 25-54) and No. 19 in the total day demo (82,000) in September.
The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell was MSNBC’s most-watched show in September (1.735 million at 10 p.m.), a first for the program. Fewer editions of the weekly The Rachel Maddow Show and declining ratings for Alex Wagner‘s new show dragged 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 audiences than its main cable news competitor.
CNN ranked No. 9 in total primetime viewers for September (682,000), No. 4 in total day viewers (580,000), No. 16 in the primetime demo (136,000 adults 25-54) and No. 8 in the total day demo (111,000 adults 25-54). Relative to August, that’s a loss of -7% in total primetime viewers, -11% in the primetime demo, but a +3% gain in total day viewers and a +1% gain in the total day demo. Relative to September 2021, CNN actually gained +1% in total day viewers this month (perhaps driven by Queen Elizabeth II funeral coverage). However, the network was down by -13% in the total day demo, -14% in total primetime viewers, -26% in the primetime demo.
Finally, in addition to its No. 1 finish in total primetime viewers, ESPN ranked No. 1 in the primetime demo and No. 1 in the total day demo. The network gained +23% in total primetime viewers from Sept. 2021 (2.42 million vs. 1.98 million), +20% in the primetime demo (980,000 vs. 817,000), +23% in total day viewers (917,000 vs. 747,000) and +19% in the total day demo (381,000 vs. 319,000).
September ’22 cable news ratings, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen live-same-day data):
|• Total Viewers:||2,131,000||1,233,000||682,000|
|TOTAL DAY||Fox News||MSNBC||CNN|
|• Total Viewers:||1,406,000||791,000||580,000|
Below, the full cable network rankers, with Fox News and ESPN topping the charts in Total Viewers and Adults 25-54, respectively.