Week of Aug. 17 Ranker: Driven by DNC Coverage, MSNBC Is the Most-Watched Network on Cable; CNN Is No. 1 in A25-54 Demo

By A.J. Katz 

MSNBC moved past Fox News this past week to become the most-watched basic cable network in prime time. Driven by its coverage of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, NBC’s politics-focused cable network averaged nearly 6 million viewers during the four-day convention, and close to 3.4 million total prime-time viewers for the full calendar week of Aug. 17, 2020.

CNN was the No. 1 basic cable network among adults 25-54 during DNC week, handily beating the competition. The network averaged 1.6 million demo viewers for the convention, 790,000 demo viewers during prime time and 308,000 demo viewers in total day for the full calendar week.

Fox News had been the most-watched cable network in prime time for 30 consecutive weeks, and saw its streak come to an end this past week. That said, the network did remain No. 1 in total day viewers (1.68 million), marking 33 consecutive weeks in that position. The network had a rare third-place finish in the prime-time demo, but finished ahead of MSNBC in the total day demo.


On the programming front, Fox News’ The Five delivered 3.3 million viewers with 484,000 in the 25-54 demo, dominating its 5 p.m. competition. Its weekend programming Watters’ World, Justice With Judge Jeanine and The Greg Gutfeld Show won their respective Saturday night time slots, and Steve Hilton‘s interview with President Trump aired on his Sunday, 9 p.m. show, making it the top cable news show on that day. Hilton’s interview with Trump gave a nice bump to the network’s pre-RNC special, Democracy 2020: Convention Kickoff, with anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, which finished No. 1 in the Sunday 10 p.m. time slot with 2 million viewers and 393,000 in the demo.

The Nielsen live-plus-same-day numbers for the week of Aug. 17 (Monday-Sunday):

PRIME TIME (8-11 p.m.)

• Total Viewers: 3,167,000 3,378,000 2,848,000
• A25-54: 558,000 607,000 790,000




TOTAL DAY (6 a.m.-6 a.m.)

• Total Viewers: 1,676,000 1,511,000 1,221,000
• A25-54: 291,000 247,000 308,000




Below, the full Nielsen ranker for the week.

Basic cable ranker: Week of Aug. 17 (Total Viewers)