Week of April 25 Basic Cable Ranker: Fox News Is No. 1 in Total Viewers, Posts Growth in Primetime

By A.J. Katz 

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Fox News Channel was the most-watched basic cable network in total day and in primetime during the week of April 25. The cable news powerhouse also averaged more total viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined for the 37th consecutive week.

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, Fox News averaged 2.32 million total viewers in primetime this past week. That’s +2% from what the network averaged in the daypart the previous week. FNC also averaged 360,000 adults 25-54 in primetime, which is steady with the week prior and ranked No. 3 behind the networks carrying the NBA playoffs, which are TNT ( 1 million – No. 1) and ESPN (744,000 – No. 2).

Fox News also averaged 1.5 million total viewers in total day during the week of April 25. Not only is that No. 1 on all of basic cable, it’s also +1% from what the network averaged in total day viewers the prior week. FNC also averaged 242,000 adults 25-54 in total day, No. 3 on basic cable behind TNT (316,000) and ESPN (312,000), and steady with the prior week.

Elsewhere in the cable news universe, MSNBC finished last week No. 4 on cable in total primetime viewers, averaging more 1.18 million viewers in the daypart. That’s up +5% from the previous week.  MSNBC also averaged 686,000 total day viewers last week, No. 3 on basic cable and up +2% from the prior week.

MSNBC averaged 123,000 adults 25-54 in primetime this past week—which is steady with the prior week—and 74,000 adults 25-54 in total day, which +3% from the prior week. The network remains a distant third in the key measurement behind Fox and CNN. While the story remains positive for MSNBC in total viewers, it continues to look relatively bleak among the A25-54 demo.

CNN received a primetime ratings boost from Saturday’s live coverage of the 2022 White House Correspondents’ Dinner. The network averaged 755,000 total viewers in primetime last week, No. 8 on all of basic cable and +14% from the week prior. A25-54 viewership in primetime was down -2% from the previous week, however. The trend wasn’t quite as great in total day. CNN averaged 541,000 viewers in total day, No. 6 on all of cable and -1% from the prior week. The network also averaged 109,000 adults 25-54 in total day, No. 10 on basic cable and -9% from the previous week.

How did the “big three” fare relative to the same week in 2021? (Week of April 26) Fox News gained +3% in average total primetime viewers, but lost -2% from the primetime demo. The network continues to see growth in total day viewing, gaining +24% in total day viewers and +15% in the total day demo from the same week in 2021. CNN and MSNBC, which were giving Fox a run for their money at this time last year, continue to see double-digit dips from the year-ago week. CNN dropped -33% in average total primetime viewers, -47% in the primetime demo, -22% in total day viewers and -39% in the total day demo. MSNBC shed -28% in average total primetime viewers, -49% in the primetime demo, -23% in total day viewers and -39% in the total day demo vs. the year-ago week.

Week of April 25, 2022 cable news ratings, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen live-same-day data):

PRIME Fox News MSNBC CNN
• Total Viewers: 2,319,000 1,179,000 755,000
• A25-54: 360,000 123,000 156,000

 

 

 

TOTAL DAY Fox News MSNBC CNN
• Total Viewers: 1,497,000 686,000 541,000
• A25-54: 242,000 74,000 109,000

 

 

 

On the cable news programming front, Fox News’ The Five remained the most-watched show on cable news this past week, averaging 3.375 million total viewers at 5 p.m. Tucker Carlson Tonight took second place in total viewers, averaging 3.3 million at 8 p.m., Jesse Watters Primetime at No. 3 ( 2.79 million at 7 p.m.), Hannity at No. 4 ( 2.61 million viewers at 9 p.m.),  and Special Report with Bret Baier (2.54 million at 6 p.m.) rounding out the top five in average total viewers.

Tucker Carlson Tonight remained the top-rated cable news show among adults 25-54—averaging 554,000 this past week—and Fox News as a network secured 9 of the 10-most-watched cable news shows of the week, 14 of the top 15 in the key A25-54 demo.

MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show was the sole non-Fox show to break the cable news top 10 in total viewers (1.88 million – No. 8) and the top 15 in the key A25-54 demo (212,000 – No. 15).

Additionally, below are the most-watched basic cable networks for the week. The left column is ranked by most to fewest average total primetime viewers—and the right column is ranked by most to fewest average total viewers across total day (6 a.m-6 a.m.).

Week of April 25 (Total Viewers)

Finally, the left column below is ranked by most to fewest average adults 25-54 watching in primetime— and the right column is ranked by most to fewest adults 25-54 watching across total day (6 a.m-6 a.m.).

Week of April 25 (Adults 25-54)

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