Week of Dec. 13 Basic Cable Ranker: Fox News Is Most-Watched on Cable in Total Day and Prime; Sees Decline Among Adults 25-54

By A.J. Katz 

According to live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen, Fox News Channel averaged 1.38 million total viewers in total day during the week of Dec. 13, 2021, making it the most-watched basic cable network in the Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-6 a.m. time period for the 44th consecutive week. The network also averaged 213,000 adults 25-54 in total day, No. 2 on basic cable only behind ESPN (319,000). However, the network lost -6% in average total day viewers and -11% in adults 25-54 from the previous week (Dec. 6).

In primetime, Fox News averaged 2.24 million total viewers, also No. 1 on basic cable. The network also averaged 336,000 adults 25-54 last week, which is No. 7 on basic cable, behind the networks carrying football and holiday-themed programming. Relative to the prior week, Fox shed -5% in average total primetime viewers and -8% in the primetime demo. On a positive note, the network averaged more viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined for the 18th straight week.

On the programming front, Fox News’ The Five was the most-watched cable news show of the week, averaging 3.19 million total viewers in the 5 p.m. hour. The Five has finished No. 1 on cable news in total viewers back-to-back weeks. The panel program ranked No. 2 on cable news in the key A25-54 demo (416,000) behind Tucker Carlson Tonight (481,000). TCT ranked No. 2 last week in total viewers (3.11 million) at 8 p.m. Hannity was third in cable news across the board, averaging 2.63 million viewers and 411,000 in the 25-54 demo. Special Report with Bret Baier was No. 4 on cable news with 2.28 million total viewers and 317,000 A25-54.


MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show saw audience growth and finished the week at No. 5 in total viewers, averaging 2.25 million. The remaining 10-most-watched cable news shows for the week were Fox News shows, including The Ingraham Angle (2.13 million), Fox News Primetime (1.89 million), Gutfeld! (1.89 million), America’s Newsroom (1.64 million) and Outnumbered (1.61 million) round out the top 10 in total viewers.

Fox News placed 11 of the top 15 cable news shows in total viewers. In addition to Maddow at No. 5, MSNBC placed The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell (No. 12, 1.48 million), All In with Chris Hayes (No. 13, 1.465 million) and Deadline: White House with Nicolle Wallace (No. 14, 1.34 million) in the top 15. MSNBC hasn’t placed that many shows in the top 15 in recent weeks.

Speaking of MSNBC, the network averaged 1.35 million total primetime viewers (No. 5 on basic cable) and 156,000 adults 25-54 in prime time (No. 20 on basic cable) this past week. Relative to the previous week, the network gained +16% in average total viewers and +19% in the key A25-54 demo in primetime; more week-to-week growth than the competition. MSNBC also averaged 727,000 total viewers (No. 4 overall) and 77,000 adults 25-54 (No. 27 overall) in the Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-6 a.m. total day time period this past week. That’s +6% in total viewers and +4% among the A25-54 demo from the previous week.

The first hour of Dateline: White House (4 p.m.) averaged more total viewers than its Fox News and CNN timeslot competition last week.

Additionally, MSNBC beat CNN in average total viewers, both total day and primetime, and also in the primetime demo this past week. However, the network came up short to CNN when it came to adults 25-54 in total day.

Speaking of CNN, the network averaged 665,000 total viewers in prime time (No. 18 on basic cable) and 517,000 total viewers in total day (No. 5 on basic cable) during the week of Dec. 13. And when it came to adults 25-54, the network averaged 132,000 in primetime (No. 29 on basic cable ) and 99,000 in total day (No. 21 on basic cable). Those figures represent +3% growth in total day viewers but a -2% loss in the total day demo from the previous week. The story in primetime was far more positive for CNN, especially when compared with the previous week, an especially poor one for the network. CNN gained +14% in average total primetime viewers and +10% in the primetime demo from the previous week.

CNN also managed to average more adults 25-54 than MSNBC in total day.

Week of Dec. 13, 2021 cable news ratings, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen live-same-day data):

• Total Viewers: 1,379,000 727,000 517,000
• A25-54: 213,000 79,000 99,000




• Total Viewers: 2,241,000 1,347,000 665,000
• A25-54: 336,000 156,000 132,000




Below, 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 Dec. 13 (Total Viewers) by Adweek on Scribd

Here’s a second cable network ranker, sorted by most to fewest adults 25-54. The left column is primetime, the right is total day.

Week of Dec. 13 (Adults 25-54)