Here Are the Top Cable Networks for May 2018

By A.J. Katz 

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Fox News was the most-watched basic cable network for the 23rd straight month as a result of its May 2018 victory across the 6 a.m. – 6 a.m. total daypart.

The network averaged 1.39 million viewers in total day, and while that’s indeed No. 1, it’s actually -2 percent from its May 2017 total day audience.

FNC earned a No. 2 finish across basic cable when it came to total prime time viewers. The network averaged 2.38 million total viewers in May, which is +6 percent growth from May 2017.

MSNBC posted year-over-year declines in May, a rarity for a network that has been growing its audience in an era of resistance against the Trump administration. The network finished No. 4 across basic cable among total prime time viewers, and was -2 percent in total audience versus last May. MSNBC’s year-over-year performance in the prime time demo was worse, -21 percent from May 2017. Total Day audience losses weren’t quite as extreme. The network finished No. 3 in the category for May, just -1 percent in the daypart from last year.

CNN saw double digit audience losses from last year in prime time, but it remained a top 10 basic cable network across the 24-hour time period (6 a.m. – 6 a.m.)

It was a huge May for NBA playoffs coverage. TNT, easily the No. 1 basic cable network for May, also managed to posted +10 percent total viewer growth in prime time, primarily thanks to a riveting Western Conference playoffs, capped off by Warriors-Rockets. ESPN (No. 3), which aired the Eastern conference playoffs, highlighted by the Cavaliers-Celtics series, posted impressive +43 percent growth in total prime time viewers versus May 2017.

Below is the May 2018 basic cable network ranker, which is sorted by total live+same-day viewers:

Basic Cable Network Ranker: May 2018 (Total Viewers)