The Top Cable News Programs for March 2016 Are…

By A.J. Katz 

It was a massive March for cable news. Most of the genre’s top prime time programs were up from the previous month, and Fox News led the way. The network had the 13 most-watched cable news programs in March, once again led by The O’Reilly Factor and its 3.9 million total viewer average. That figure represents a +23 percent improvement from its February average.

Fox News had the 14 most-watched cable news programs in February. Why the month-to-month change? CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 moved from No. 16 to No. 14, and Fox and Friends fell out of the top 15, moving from No. 14 to No. 16.

Fox News was home to the top four cable news shows in the 25-54 demo for March: The O’Reilly Factor, The Kelly File, Hannity, and The O’Reilly Factor (repeats). This is a change from February, when the network was home to the top eight programs in the news demo. CNN made a strong move this month.  Anderson Cooper 360 shot up from the No. 9 spot in February, to No. 5 in March. 360 averaged 418,000 viewers in the demo, a +46 percent leap from its February performance (286,000).


Additionally, CNN Tonight with Don Lemon moved from No. 13 up to No. 9. Erin Burnett Outfront moved from No. 16 to No. 11 in March.

MSNBC’s top-rated show, The Rachel Maddow Show, held steady in its adults 25-54 ranking at No. 10; but in terms of actual 25-54 impressions, the program improved +22 percent (328,000 in March versus 269,000 in February). As was mentioned yesterday, Fox News was basic cable’s most-watched network, both in total day and in prime time. CNN finished No. 3 in total prime time viewers, and MSNBC came in at No. 12.

Because this ranks regularly-scheduled cable news programs, the highly-rated debates and primary/caucus nights are not included.

Top Cable News Programs of March 2016 (Adults 25-54)

Top Cable News Programs of March 2016 (Total Viewers)