The Top Basic Cable Networks For May 2019

By A.J. Katz 

Which was the most-watched basic cable network for May 2019? It depends on the daypart you’re analyzing. Fox News Channel was easily No. 1 in total day (6 a.m. – 6 a.m.), topping the cable news landscape for the 35th consecutive month.

TNT, on the other hand, was the No. 1 basic cable network during prime time hours. Prime time is the key daypart among the ad community. Huge audiences flocked to TNT for the network’s coverage of the NBA Western Conference Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Portland Trailblazers.

However, TNT will finish May 2019 -11% in prime time vs. May 2018.

Back over on cable news – Fox News, the second-most-watched basic cable network for May in prime time, was flat in the daypart vs. last year. It was -4% among total day viewers.

MSNBC ranked No. 4 in prime time audience, and was flat year-over-year. The network ranked second in total day audience, and was just -1% in that daypart.

CNN fell the most of the big three. The network was -9% in total prime time viewers, and -16% in total day viewers. Despite the drop off, CNN was still a top 10 basic cable network for May in the total day daypart.

There were standout basic cable networks that delivered year-over-year total audience growth this month: Hallmark Channel (No. 7), which posted +40% audience growth in prime time, and A&E (No. 10), which posted +19% total prime time audience growth.

Below is the May 2019 basic cable network ranker, which is sorted by total live+same-day viewers:

Basic Cable Ranker: May 2019 (Total Viewers)