Week of April 15 Basic Cable Ranker: Trump Trial Coverage Boosts MSNBC in Total Day and Primetime

By Mark Mwachiro 

This is TVNewser’s basic cable network ranker and cable news report for the week of April 15, 2024.

The three cable news networks devoted considerable resources to covering the first week of former President Donald Trump’s historic hush money trial. So far, though, only MSNBC seems to have reaped the benefits of its investment; it was the sole network that posted week-to-week gains during primetime and total day.

Even Fox News—which continued its reign as the most-watched cable news in total viewers and the Adults 25-54 demo—recorded week-to-week declines during both dayparts.



Nielsen live plus same-day data for the week of April 15 saw Fox News average 1.983 million total viewers and 214,000 A25-54 viewers during primetime. The network was down in total viewers by -5% and -13% in the A25-54 demo, relative to the week prior (the week beginning April 8). In total day viewing, Fox News averaged 1.291 million total viewers and 156,000 A25-54 viewers. This translates to respective declines of -2% and -7% from what Fox News averaged in those measurements the week prior.

Among all basic cable networks, Fox News remained in first place in total primetime viewers and in 5th place in the primetime demo. In total day, the network held its No. 1 position in total viewers but fell one spot to third place in the total day demo.

MSNBC in primetime averaged 1.351 million total viewers and 134,000 viewers from the A25-54 demo for the week. Covering the Trump Trial paid dividends as it was up by double digits, +17% in total viewers and an impressive +30% in the A25-54 demo from what the network averaged the week prior.

In total day, MSNBC averaged 932,000 total viewers and 97,000 A25-54 viewers. Those are double-digit gains of +17% and +20% in total viewers and A25-54, respectively, from what the network averaged the week before.

MSNBC ranked fourth place in total primetime viewers among all basic cable networks, but rose to 15th place in the demo, up from 20th place. During total day, it was the No.2 network in total viewers and rose three spots from No. 11 to No. 8 in the total day demo.

CNN averaged 596,000 total primetime viewers and 117,000 A25-54 viewers in primetime for the week. It posted declines of -6% in total viewers and -8% in the A25-54 demo compared to the previous week. In total day, CNN had 522,000 total viewers and 89,000 viewers in the demo. This was a +6% gain in total viewers but a -4% drop in the total day demo compared to the previous week.

CNN finished the week rising from 10th place to 8th place in primetime with total viewers, but dropped from the 13th spot to 17th place in the demo from the week prior. It held firm at No. 4 in total day viewers but fell two places to land in 9th place in the total day demo.


Fox had nine out of the 15 most-watched cable news shows of the week, led by The Five (3.160 million viewers at 5 p.m. ET). MSNBC took the remaining six spots, led by Deadline: White House with Nicole Wallace coming in at No. 7 (1.845 million viewers at 5.pm. ET).

Gutfeld! Stayed at the top in the Adults 25-54 demo (291,000 viewers at 10 p.m. ET). Fox News had 10 of the top 15 cable news shows in the demo overall, with MSNBC’s The Beat with Ari Melber securing the 11th spot (179,000 viewers at 6 p.m. ET) followed by four other MSNBC shows.

Week of April 15 cable news ratings, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen Live+SD data):

• Total Viewers: 1,983,000 1,351,000 596,000
• A25-54: 214,000 134,000 117,000



• Total Viewers: 1,291,000 932,000 522,000
• A25-54: 156,000 97,000 89,000