The Top Cable News Programs of 2016 Were…

By A.J. Katz 

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It was quite a year for cable news, with Fox News leading the way once again. FNC was home to the top 11 cable news shows of the year in total viewers, the top 6 shows of the year in the ad-friendly A25-54 news demographic, and 7 of the top 10 shows among A18-49.

Bill O’Reilly once again had the No. 1 show in cable news in terms of total viewers, the A25-54 news demo and even among adults 18-49. The Factor grew +18 percent in total viewers and +19 percent in A25-54  from its 2015 average.

Megyn Kelly‘s The Kelly File finished No. 2 in both categories, growing +17 percent in total viewers and +19 percent in A25-54 from 2015.

Special Report with Bret Baier finished No. 3 in total viewers, followed by The Five, Hannity, Tucker Carlson Tonight/On the Record, America’s Newsroom, Your World with Neil Cavuto, Outnumbered, and Shepard Smith Reporting filling out cable news’ top 10 for 2016 in total viewers.

Rachel Maddow hosted the most-watched non-Fox News program of 2016 (N0. 12), and it grew +70 percent in total viewers from last year. Anderson Cooper hosted the top non-Fox News program of 2016 in A25-54 (No. 7) and A18-49 (No. 4). AC360 grew +60 percent in the A25-54 demo from last year.

MSNBC programs to follow Maddow in total viewers are Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell (No. 16), the network’s half-hour newcomer The 11th Hour with Brian Williams (No. 18), All in with Chris Hayes (No. 19), and Hardball with Chris Matthews (No. 20).

Maddow, Hayes and O’Donnell delivered triple-digit growth in the demo from 2015.

AC360 was CNN’s most-watched program for 2016 (No. 17), followed by Erin Burnett Outfront (No. 22), CNN Tonight with Don Lemon (No. 23) and The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer (N0. 24), and The Lead with Jake Tapper (No. 25). Each of those shows delivered double-digit year-over-year audience growth.

Lemon was CNN’s No. 2 program in the news demo, and No. 10 overall, followed by Outfront (No. 12).

Cooper and Lemon were top-5 cable news shows among adults 18-49.

Cable News Morning Shows

Fox & Friends averaged 1.27 million total viewers, Morning Joe averaged 677,000 and New Day averaged 508,000 total. F&F grew +28 percent in the category from last year, Joe grew +64 percent, and New Day grew +41 percent.

Fox and Friends averaged 279,000 adults 25-54, and Morning Joe averaged 166,000, edging New Day by just 7,000 in the ad-friendly demo. F&F grew +22 percent in the demo year-over-year, Morning Joe grew +78 percent in the demo year-over-year, and New Day grew +39 percent in the demo year-over-year.

2016 Cable News Program Ranker (Total Viewers)

2016 Cable News Program Ranker (A25-54)

2016 Cable News Program Ranker (A18-49)