The Top Basic Cable Networks of July 2019

By A.J. Katz 

Which was the most-watched basic cable network for July? That would be Fox News Channel. FNC finished No. 1 in prime time, and No. 1 in total day (6 a.m. – 6 a.m.), topping the cable news landscape for the 37th consecutive month in the latter daypart.

For the month of July, FNC programs also accounted for 11 of the top 15 cable news programs in both total viewers and in the 25-54 demo. Hannity, Tucker Carlson Tonight, The Ingraham Angle and The Five were the top four cable news programs five cable news programs across the board.

Compared to its July 2018 performance, Fox News was +1% in total prime time viewers and +1% in total day viewers this past month.


MSNBC, on the other hand, maintained its status as the second-most-watched basic network in prime time basic cable. However, the network posted a -10% loss in the daypart, and was also -7% in total day viewers vs. July 2018. July also MSNBC’s lowest-rated month in the 25-54 demo since President Trump took office.

CNN fell the most of the big three. The network was -11% in total prime time viewers, and -13% in total day viewers from the prior July. Despite the drop off, CNN was still a top 10 basic cable network for the month in the total day daypart (No. 7), and scored a spot in the top 15 in prime time (No. 13).

The network’s Democratic primary debate ratings, despite having taken place during the July calendar month, will instead count towards August 2019 due to the format of the Nielsen calendar.

There were a handful of standout basic cable networks that delivered year-over-year total audience growth this month. In addition to Fox, TLC, which ranked No. 4 in July among total prime time viewers, was +23% from July 2018.

ESPN finished July 2019 +18% from the prior July, thanks to solid ratings for Sunday Night Baseball and the network’s record-setting coverage of Wimbledon.

Hallmark Channel was +1%.

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

Basic cable ranker: July 2019 (Total Viewers)