Week of Aug. 9 Cable Ranker: Fox News Wins Primetime, Total Day and Posts Week-to-Week Growth

By A.J. Katz 

Coverage of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s resignation remarks lifted each major cable news network’s ratings in total day and especially in dayside last week.

Fox News Channel was the most-watched network on basic cable during the week of Aug. 9, both in total day and in primetime dayparts. In addition to finishing No. 1 in total viewers, Fox News also finished No. 1 on basic cable in the total day demo (after finishing No. 2 in that measurement the previous week). The network also finished No. 2 on all of basic cable in the primetime A25-54 demo, only behind NFL Network.

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, Fox News averaged 2.205 million total viewers and 339,000 in the 25-54 demo in primetime last week. That’s +5% and +11%, respectively, from what the network averaged the prior week (Aug. 2) in those measurements. This means Fox has posted back-to-back weeks of viewer growth in key measurements, and once again averaged more total primetime viewers last week than CNN and MSNBC combined.


Fox News also averaged 1.25 million total viewers in total day (+5% from the prior week), marking 26 consecutive weeks as the most-watched cable news network in total day. The network averaged 211,000 adults 25-54 in total day, which is +17%  from the prior week.

Tucker Carlson Tonight remained the No. 1 show on cable news this past week. The program averaged 2.9 million viewers, and 459,000 in the 25-54 demo. Fox News’ 8 p.m. offering averaged 2.9 million total viewers to go with 467,000 adults 25-54 the previous week, when Carlson broadcasted from Hungary. After Carlson, The Five, Hannity, MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, and The Ingraham Angle round out the top five cable news shows for the week in average total viewers.

MSNBC finished No. 2 on basic cable in average total primetime audience this past week (1.33 million viewers) after coming in third the prior week. MSNBC finished No. 2 on basic cable in total day viewers (766,000) after finishing second the prior week. The network finished No. 20 in adults 25-54 during primetime (178,000), and No. 21 in adults 25-54 during total day (100,000).

Relative to the previous week, MSNBC grew by +28% in average total prime time viewers, and +33% in the prime time demo; more than its main cable news competition. (It didn’t hurt that Rachel Maddow returned to 9 p.m. this past week after consecutive weeks off). The network improved by +13% in average total day audience, but just +5% in the total day demo from the previous week.

CNN averaged 779,000 total viewers in prime time (No. 8 on basic cable), and 596,000 in total day (No. 4 on basic cable) during the week of Aug. 9. When it came to adults 25-54, CNN finished No. 18 in primetime (184,000), and No. 9 in total day (128,000) last week.

How do those figures stack up against comparable weeks? CNN grew by +13% in average total primetime viewers, by +23% primetime demo, +13% in total day viewers, and +16% in the total day demo from the prior week. So, while ratings are far lower for CNN than they were earlier in the year, week-to-week growth is never a bad thing.

Week of Aug. 9 cable news ratings, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen live-same-day data):

• Total Viewers: 2,205,000 1,328,000 779,000
• A25-54: 339,000 178,000 184,000




• Total Viewers: 1,251,000 766,000 596,000
• A25-54: 211,000 100,000 128,000




How about the broader basic cable landscape?

When it came to average total viewers in primetime — after Fox News and MSNBC came HGTV, TLC, Hallmark, INSP, History, CNN, USA and NFL Network. In total day, MSNBC finished second after Fox News, and was followed by HGTV, CNN, ID, INSP, Food Network, Hallmark Channel, History and TLC.

Week of Aug. 9 basic cable ranker (Total Viewers) 

Among adults 25-54, NFL Network finished No. 1 in primetime, followed by Fox News, TBS, TLC, HGTV, Food Network, USA, TNT, Bravo and ESPN. In total day demo rankings, the top 10 is: Fox News, HGTV, ID, NFL Network, Food Network, TBS, ESPN, TNT, CNN and USA.

Week of Aug. 9 basic cable ranker (Adults 25-54)