Week of Aug. 8 Basic Cable Ranker: FBI Mar-a-Lago Search Coverage Results In Week-to-Week Gains For Cable News

By A.J. Katz 

All three major cable news networks—Fox News, MSNBC and CNN—gained scores of viewers when news broke of the FBI executing a search warrant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Florida residence last Monday. The breaking news coverage was featured on cable news throughout the week, resulting in week-to-week and year-over-year gains for the top newsers.

CNN and MSNBC may have delivered more substantial week to week audience gains, but Fox News Channel was once again the most-watched network overall, not only in primetime but also in total day viewers.

According to live plus same day data from Nielsen, FNC averaged 2.70 million total viewers in primetime this past week, No. 1 on basic cable for the 11th consecutive week, and +29% from the prior week. In the adults 25-54 demo, the network rose to the top on all of basic cable, averaging 377,000 in primetime, +41% from the week prior. Fox News had another strong week when it came to viewing in total day. The network’s 1.67 million total viewer average in the daypart not only is No. 1 on basic cable, it’s also a +18% gain from the week prior. The network averaged 242,000 in the adults 25-54 demo in total day, No. 1 in basic cable and +22% from last week.


CNN averaged 893,000 total viewers in primetime during the week of August 8, up +36% from the week prior—placing the network at No. 3 in cable news and up to No. 5 in basic cable. Its viewership in the demo in primetime (196,000) places it at No. 11 on basic cable and +47% from the week prior. CNN also saw week-to-week gains in total day viewing, +30% in total viewers (662,000) and +33% in the key A25-54 demo (134,000). The network improved to No. 3 on basic cable in total day viewers and No. 5  in the total day demo.

MSNBC remained the second most-watched network on basic cable in total viewers, averaging 1.55 million total viewers in primetime and 934,000 in total day for the week of Aug. 8. The 1.55 million viewer average is +58% from what MSNBC averaged in primetime the prior week, while the 934,000 is +39% from what the network averaged in total day the prior week. MSNBC also averaged 176,000 adults 25-54 in primetime, rising to No. 14 on basic cable—and +71% from the prior week. MSNBC averaged 107,000 adults 25-54 in total day, which is +37% from the prior week and No. 11 on basic cable.

Fox News, MSNBC and CNN fared pretty well on a year-over-year basis, with Fox seeing the most growth. Relative to the week of August 9, 2021, FNC gained +23% in total primetime viewers and +11% in the A25-54 demo. The story was even better for Fox when it came to total day viewing, with the network gaining +33% in total viewers and +15% in the key demo vs. the same week in 2021. CNN gained +15% in total primetime viewers and +7% in the demo, as well as +11% in total day viewers and +5% in total day demo. MSNBC gained +16% in total primetime viewers, but lost -1% in the primetime demo. The network did gain +22% in total day viewers—and +7% in the total day demo vs. the year-ago week.

Week of August 8 cable news ratings, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen live-same-day data):

• Total Viewers: 2,703,000 1,546,000 893,000
• A25-54: 377,000 176,000 196,000




• Total Viewers: 1,668,000 934,000 662,000
• A25-54: 242,000 107,000 134,000




In terms of individual programming, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight (guest-hosted by Will Cain) broke The Five’s eight-week-long winning streak—and was the most-watched cable news show for the week of August 8. The Five took second place in total viewers (3.72 million at 5 p.m.), followed by MSNBC’s weekly The Rachel Maddow Show (3.52 million), 9 p.m. rival Hannity (3.48 million) with Jesse Watters Primetime (3.175 million at 7 p.m.) rounding out the top five. Tucker Carlson Tonight (629,000), Hannity (509,000), The Rachel Maddow Show (496,000), The Five (494,000), The Ingraham Angle (448,ooo) were the top five cable news offerings for the week among adults 25-54.

Additionally, FNC’s 11 p.m. news comedy program Gutfeld! had its highest-rated week since launch averaging 2.355 million viewers and 397,000 in the 25-54 demo.

Week of Aug. 8 (Total Viewers)

Week of Aug. 8 (Adults 25-54)