Week of April 19 Cable Network Ranker: Fox News Maintains ‘Most-Watched Network’ Status, Grows Adults 25-54 Audience

By A.J. Katz 

During the week of April 19, Fox News was the most-watched cable network, averaging nearly 2.3 million viewers and 407,000 in the 25-54 demo during the 8-11 p.m. ET time period. In total day (6 a.m.-6 a.m. ET), Fox was the only cable net to crack 1 million viewers (close to 1.3 million) last week, and averaged 233,000 in the 25-54 demographic.

Compared to the prior week (April 12), the network was up less than 1% in total prime time viewers, but actually grew by +14% in the prime time demo. In total day, Fox News again grew by less than 1% in total viewers, but was +6% in adults 25-54.

As has become the norm in recent weeks, Tucker Carlson Tonight averaged the largest audience on cable news, 3.1 million total viewers to go with 601,000 adults 25-54. Carlson also happened to have had the most-watched cable news show for the month of April.

Despite this renewed dominance on the 2021 ratings front, the network still isn’t quite where it was at this time last year. The comparable week in 2020 (week of April 20) featured wall-to-wall Covid-19 pandemic coverage, which caused Americans to flock to their TV sets. Additionally, all three networks aired the White House daily coronavirus task force briefings. There was just more news in general at this time last year, with Trump and 2020 being an election year. The Derek Chauvin murder trial verdict was handed down on Tuesday, April 20, which did add some spice to the week. That said, it didn’t truly offset year-over-year ratings losses.

Fox News shed -32% of its average total prime time audience, and -27% of its audience in the prime time demo. In total day, the network fell -37% in total viewers, and -37% in the demo. Fox (and its competitors) will very likely be seeing year-over-year ratings losses through the spring.

With a boost from its top-rated live coverage of the Chauvin murder trial verdict, a major news event which attracted many Americans who might not usually watch cable news, CNN grew +3% of its audience from the total day demo. The network also grew +1% in the prime time demo from the prior week. On the downside for CNN, the network shed -7% in total prime time viewers, dropping two spots to No. 6 in the prime time cable rankings. The network also shed -2% in total viewers across the total day, but remained No. 3 overall in total day viewership. Compared to the same week in 2020, CNN shed -43% of its total prime time audience and dropped by -37% in the prime time demo. In total day, the network fell -35% in total viewers from last year, and dropped -33% in the total day demo.

MSNBC was once again the second-most-watched network on all of basic cable. Like CNN, MSNBC delivered viewership gains from the prior week in the younger demo, thanks to its live coverage of the murder trial during dayside.  It grew +3% in the total day demo, and +6% in the prime time demo. However, the network shed -2% of its average total prime time viewership, and -4% of its total day viewership from the prior week.

Versus the same week in 2020, MSNBC shed -24% of its average total prime time audience, -26% of its prime time demo audience, fell -27% in total day viewers and -33% in the total day demo. Still having some issues capturing the younger viewers.

The week of April 19, 2021, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen live-same-day data):

PRIME TIME Fox News MSNBC CNN
• Total Viewers: 2,288,000 1,506,000 1,003,000
• A25-54: 407,000 228,000 301,000

 

 

 

TOTAL DAY Fox News MSNBC CNN
• Total Viewers: 1,265,000 918,000 790,000
• A25-54: 233,000 139,000 218,000

 

 

 

What about those other cable networks, you ask?

After Fox News and MSNBC, HGTV, TNT, ESPN, CNN, Hallmark Channel, TBS, Discovery and History rounded out the ten most-watched basic cable networks in prime time for the week of April 19, 2021.

In total day, Fox News ranked No. 1 again, also followed by MSNBC, and then CNN ahead of HGTV, Hallmark, TNT, ESPN, ID, Food Network and USA for the week of April 19, 2021.

Week of April 19 Basic Cable Ranker (Total Viewers)

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