These Are the Top-Rated Cable News Shows for Oct. 2021

By A.J. Katz 

Fox News’ 5 p.m. roundtable talk program The Five has been moving up the cable news program ranks in recent months. One of the five-most-watched shows on cable news early in 2021, The Five shot up to No. 3 in July—proceeded to move past Hannity and become the second-most-watched cable news show in August—and remained No. 2 on cable news for the month of September.

Well, October is complete, and for the first time since the show launched a decade ago, The Five is ending a month as the most-watched show on all of cable news, moving past powerhouse Tucker Carlson Tonight in average total viewers (Carlson is still No. 1 among adults 25-54). An impressive ascent.

Led by The Five, Fox News is home to nine of the 10-most-watched cable news shows for October, and 13 of the top 15, with the other two hailing from MSNBC.

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Cuomo Primetime was the most-watched show on CNN for October, coming in at No. 23 (811,000 viewers on average).

Here are the 10 most-watched cable news shows for Oct. 2021, as per live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen.

  1. Fox News | 5 p.m. / The Five: 3,108,000 /  26 telecasts
  2. Fox News | 8 p.m. /Tucker Carlson Tonight: 3,081,000 /  24 telecasts
  3. Fox News | 9 p.m. /Hannity: 2,749,000 / 22 telecasts
  4. Fox News | 6 p.m. / Special Report with Bret Baier: 2,304,000 / 25 telecasts
  5. Fox News | 10 p.m. / The Ingraham Angle: 2,194,000 / 24 telecasts
  6. MSNBC | 9 p.m. / The Rachel Maddow Show: 2,091,000 / 25 telecasts
  7. Fox News | 7 p.m. / Fox News Primetime: 2,080,000 / 25 telecasts
  8. Fox News | 11 p.m./Gutfeld!: 1,854,000 / 25 telecasts
  9. Fox News | 12 p.m./Outnumbered: 1,750,000 / 24 telecasts
  10. Fox News | 9-10 a.m., 10-11 a.m. / America’s Newsroom: 1,697,000 / 48 telecasts

Below, the full cable news program ranker:

Oct. ’21 Ranker (Total Viewers)

How about the top cable news shows among adults 25-54? After all, this is a demographic that advertisers of news traditionally focus their ad dollars on.

As previously mentioned, Tucker Carlson Tonight averaged the largest A25-54 audience of any cable news show in October, as per live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen (483,000). The Five moved past Hannity and into second place in this key measurement (435,000 vs. 420,000), with The Ingraham Angle (359,000) and Special Report (345,000) rounding out cable news’ five-most-watched shows among adults 25-54.

Fox News placed 15 shows in cable news’ top 25 among adults 25-54, including the top 11.

The Rachel Maddow Show is the only non-Fox offering to crack the top 15 in the demo this month, hitting a 2021-low ranking of No. 12. TRMS finished No. 8 among adults 25-54 in September, No. 10 in August and No. 5 in July. MSNBC placed four of the top 25 cable news shows among adults 25-54 for October 2021.

CNN’s top show in the key A25-54 demo for October is Erin Burnett Outfront, which marked its 10th anniversary on the network in October. Outfront averaged 164,000 viewers from the measurement (No. 17 on cable news). CNN placed six of the top 25 cable news shows for the month among adults 25-54.

Here are the top 10 cable news shows among adults 25-54 for Oct. 2021, as per live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen:

  1. Fox News| 8 p.m./ Tucker Carlson Tonight: 483,000 / 24 telecasts
  2. Fox News | 5 p.m. / The Five: 435,000 / 26 telecasts
  3. Fox News | 9 p.m. / Hannity: 420,000 / 22 telecasts
  4. Fox News | 10 p.m. / The Ingraham Angle: 359,000 / 24 telecasts
  5. Fox News | 6 p.m. / Special Report with Bret Baier: 345,000 / 25 telecasts
  6. Fox News | 11 p.m. / Gutfeld!: 339,000 / 25 telecasts
  7. Fox News | 7 p.m. / Fox News Primetime: 329,000 / 25 telecasts
  8. Fox News | 9-10 a.m., 10-11 a.m. / America’s Newsroom: 271,000 / 48 telecasts
  9. Fox News | 12 p.m./ Outnumbered: 270,000 / 24 telecasts
  10. Fox News | 11 a.m. / The Faulkner Focus: 266,000 / 23 telecasts

Below, the full cable news program ranker:

Oct. ’21 Ranker (Adults 25-54) 

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