The Top Cable News Programs in Q2 ’18 Were…

By A.J. Katz 

It was another strong spring on the ratings front for Fox News, which can lay claim to 14 of the top 20 cable news programs in total viewers for Q2 2018. Sean Hannity‘s eponymous program was No. 1 on cable news for the quarter, both in total viewers (3.37 million) and among adults 25-54, the latter being the demographic advertisers tend to focus on.

He managed to fend off MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who managed to finish No. 2 on all of cable news in total viewers (2.75 million) and in the key A25-54 demo. Maddow had a banner Q2 last year, finishing No. 1 in cable news among adults 25-54.

Tucker Carlson Tonight was No. 3 in total viewers (2.7 million), followed by Laura Ingraham’s The Ingraham Angle, averaging 2.65 million viewers in Q2, The Five (2.23 million), Special Report with Bret Baier, (2.19 million), Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell (2.1 million), The Story with Martha MacCallum (1.97 million), All In with Chris Hayes (1.76 million) with America’s Newsroom (1.63 million) rounding out the top 10 in total viewers.


In fact, the top 25 cable news programs for the 2nd quarter in total viewers aired on Fox News or on MSNBC.

CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time, which premiered June 4, was CNN’s most-watched show for the quarter (1.04 million viewers), ranking No. 26.

Moving to the key A25-54 demo. Fox News was home to  7 out of the top 10 in the category, with the other 3 coming from MSNBC. Following Hannity and Maddow in the A25-54 rankings for Q2 are The Ingraham Angle, The Last Word, The Five, Special Report, The Story, Fox News @ Night with Shannon Bream, and All In.

Cuomo (and CNN in general) fared far better against the competition when it came to the key A25-54 demo. Cuomo Prime Time, CNN’s top show right now, averaged 341,000 adults 25-54 in June, which is 11th-best in cable news for the quarter. Anderson Cooper 360 and Erin Burnett Outfront were the only other CNN programs to make a significant dent in the cable news ratings rankings.

FBN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight was the most-watched cable news show in Q2 that doesn’t air on cable news’s “big three.” It averaged 320,000 total viewers, No. 46 overall.

Jay Leno‘s Garage was CNBC’s most-watched program for the quarter, averaging 297,000 total viewers. That’s good for No. 47 overall, right behind Dobbs. Leno ranked No. 46 overall in adults 25-54, No. 1 outside of the big three with 107,000 demo viewers.

Forensic Files in prime time was HLN’s most-watched show (252,000). Unmasking a Killer was HLN’s No. 1 show among adults 25-54 (91,000).

Cable news morning show ratings: Q2 ’18 (Nielsen live-plus-same-day data)

Total Viewers / A25-54

  • Fox & Friends : 1.55 million / 329,000
  • Morning Joe: 1.06 million / 232,000
  • New Day: 564,000 / 183,000


Here are the cable news program rankers for Q2 2018:

Cable News ranker: Q2 2018 (Total Viewers)

Cable news ranker: Q2 2018 (A25-54)