Week of April 29 Basic Cable Ranker: Fox News Remains on Top During Primetime and Total Day

By Mark Mwachiro 

This is TVNewser’s basic cable network ranker and cable news report for the week of April 29, 2024.

Continuing coverage of former President Donald Trump’s trial as well as the protests engulfing college campuses nationwide were the dominant stories of the week for the cable nets. As usual, Fox News led the pack during total day and primetime in both measured categories, and was also the only network not to experience any week-to-week declines. Meanwhile, MSNBC was the second most-watched cable network in total viewers, but fell to third place behind CNN in the advertiser-coveted Adults 25-54 demo.



Nielsen live plus same-day data for the week of April 29 saw FNC average 2.004 million total viewers and 211,000 A25-54 viewers during primetime. Compared to the week prior the network was up in total viewers by +4% and by +9% in the demo. For total day viewing, the network averaged 1.306 million total viewers and 154,000 A25-54 viewers. That’s a gain of +3% in total viewers from the previous week, but a flat result in the demo.

Fox rose from third to second place in total primetime viewers among all basic cable networks, and remained in fifth place in the primetime demo. On the total day charts, the network retained its No. 1 position in total viewers, and remained stuck in third place in demo.

MSNBC’s primetime line-up averaged 1.195 million total viewers and 110,000 viewers in the A25-54 demo for the week. Placed alongside the previous week, that’s a tumble of -17% in both categories. In total day, MSNBC averaged 836,000 total viewers and 87,000 A25-54 viewers, representing a respective double-digit drop of -15% and -14% compared to the week before.

MSNBC continued to rank as the No. 4 cable network in total primetime viewers, but dropped three spots to land in 18th place in the demo. During total day, it ranked behind Fox as the No. 2 network in total viewers and fell from seventh to ninth in the total day demo.

CNN’s primetime numbers averaged 594,000 in total viewers and 112,000 viewers in the A25-54 demo. That’s a total viewer drop of -23% and a demo drop of -10% compared to the previous week. The network also fell by double digits in both categories in total day, registering 492,000 total viewers and 88,000 in the demo—a drop of -15% and -11%, respectively.

CNN finished the week by falling four spots to land in ninth place in primetime with total viewers (tied with USA), while rising one spot in the demo to 17th place. For total day, the network remained static at No. 5 and No. 8 in total viewers and in the demo, respectively.

When comparing the networks’ performance to the same period a year ago (the week of May 1):

  • Fox News saw massive gains, growing by +36% in total viewers and +64% in the A25-54 demo during primetime. The network was also up by double digits in total day, rising +17% with total viewers and +27% in the demo.
  • During primetime, MSNBC was flat in total viewers and dropped -12% in the demo. The network split the difference in total day, rising +9% in total viewers and falling -4% in the demo.
  • CNN’s primetime line-up was up +20% in total viewers and +1% in the demo. For total day, it was up +4% in total viewers, but dropped -10% in the demo.


Fox had 11 out of the 15 most-watched cable news shows of the week, led by The Five (2.958 million viewers at 5 p.m. ET). MSNBC took the remaining four spots, led by Deadline: White House with Nicole Wallace at No. 7 (1.679 million viewers at 4 p.m. ET).

In the A25-54 demo, Fox News had 14 of the top 15 cable news shows with Gutfeld! topping the charts (308,000 viewers at 10 p.m. ET). MSNBC’s Deadline: White House nabbed the No. 15 spot (152,000 viewers at 4 p.m. ET).

Week of April 29 cable news ratings, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen Live+SD data):

• Total Viewers: 2,004,000 1,195,000 594,000
• A25-54: 211,000 110,000 112,000



• Total Viewers: 1,306,000 836,000 492,000
• A25-54: 154,000 87,000 88,000