Week of April 4 Basic Cable Ranker: Fox News Remains Most-Watched Channel, But Sheds Viewers From Prior Week

By A.J. Katz 

Fox News Channel was the most-watched basic cable network in total day and in primetime during the week of April 4. FNC also averaged more total viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined for the 34th consecutive week.

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, Fox News averaged 2.36 million total viewers in primetime this past week. That number is -7% from what the network averaged in the daypart the previous week. FNC also averaged 361,000 adults 25-54 in primetime, which is -5% from the week prior. It’s also fewer A25-54 viewers than TBS (which televised the NCAA men’s basketball national championship game) and TNT (which televised the final NBA regular season games).

Fox News averaged 1.51 million total viewers in total day during the week of April. While No. 1 on cable in that measurement for the 60th consecutive week, that number is -7% from what the network averaged the prior week. FNC also averaged 238,000 adults 25-54 in total day, No. 2 on basic cable behind ESPN and a -12% drop from the prior week.

Fox continues to dominate basic cable in total viewers and its cable news competition in all relevant measurements.

MSNBC fell to No. 6 on cable in total primetime viewers, averaging one million in the daypart this past week. While one million may sound like a lot, it’s actually the network’s smallest primetime audience during a non-holiday week since Dec. 2016—and -11% from the previous week. The network also averaged 660,000 total day viewers,  No. 2 on basic cable and -5% from the prior week. While the story remains relatively good for MSNBC in total viewers, it continues to worsen in the A25-54 demo. The network averaged 114,000 primetime demo viewers this past week, which is -12% from the prior week, and 74,000 adults 25-54 in total day, which is -5% from the prior week.

As TV news’ focus on Ukraine slowly begins to subside, CNN, which has benefited more from its coverage of the war in Ukraine than any other network, is beginning to see its ratings return to early Q1 levels. The network averaged 692,000 total viewers in primetime last week, No. 13 on all of basic cable, and -5% from the previous week. The network also averaged 586,000 total day viewers, No.  on all of cable and also -5% from the prior week. The network shed -9% among adults 25-54 watching in primetime (165,000)—and -5% among adults 25-54 watching in total day (135,000).

How did the “big three” fare relative to the same week in 2021 (week of April 5)? Fox News grew by +8% in average total primetime viewers, +3% in the primetime demo, +26% in total day viewers and +15% in the total day demo. CNN and MSNBC, which were giving Fox a serious run for its money at this time last year, continue to see double-digit dips from the year-ago week.

CNN dropped -32% in average total primetime viewers, -28% in the primetime demo, -22% in total day viewers and -28% in the total day demo. MSNBC’s year-over-year decline has been even more extreme, particularly with Rachel Maddow having been on hiatus. MSNBC shed -39% in average total primetime viewers, half of its audience from the primetime demo (-50%), -31% in total day viewers and -46% in the total day demo vs. the year-ago week.

Week of April 4, 2022 cable news ratings, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen live-same-day data):

PRIME Fox News MSNBC CNN
• Total Viewers: 2,362,000 1,005,000 692,000
• A25-54: 361,000 114,000 165,000

 

 

 

TOTAL DAY Fox News MSNBC CNN
• Total Viewers: 1,511,000 660,000 586,000
• A25-54: 238,000 74,000 135,000

 

 

 

On the cable news programming front, Fox News’ The Five remained the most-watched show on cable news this past week, averaging 3.51 million total viewers at 5 p.m. Tucker Carlson Tonight took second place in total viewers, averaging 3.35 million, with Jesse Watters Primetime (2.91 million) jumping ahead of Hannity (2.78 million) and Special Report with Bret Baier (2.555 million) rounding out the top five in average total viewers.

Tucker Carlson Tonight remained the top-rated cable news show among adults 25-54, averaging 552,000 this past week.

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 4 (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 4 (Adults 25-54)

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