Fox News, MSNBC and CNN were the three-most-watched networks on basic cable for the week of Feb. 15.
With the Senate impeachment trial now behind us, Fox News was able to climb past MSNBC and into the No. 1 spot among total viewers, both in prime time (2.5 million) and the 6 a.m.-6 a.m. total day (1.33 million).
Compared to the prior week, Fox News fell -4% in total prime time viewers, but held steady in the prime time demo. In total day, the network also lost -4% of total viewers, but was just -1% in the demo.
Tucker Carlson ended Rachel Maddow‘s winning streak, and delivered the highest-rated cable program of the week in total viewership (3.3 million viewers), and the No. 1 cable news program in the key A25-54 demographic (516,000).
Elsewhere on Fox News, The Five was the third-most-watched cable news show for the week, averaging just under 3 million total viewers.
On the downside for FNC, the network posted losses from the comparable week in 2020. Year over year, FNC was -20% in total prime time viewers, -27% in the prime time demo, -24% in total day viewers and -30% in the total day demo.
CNN trended in the opposite direction: Up from the year-ago week, but down from the previous week. In fact, the network just completed its lowest-rated week in both total viewers and in the key 25-54 demo since before the election, as well as its lowest-watched week of the year to-date in prime time in the key demo.
CNN fell -19% in total prime time viewers, -22% in the prime time demo, -35% in total day viewers and -39% in the total day demo from the prior week, which featured Trump’s second Senate impeachment trial.
CNN ratings rely on significant breaking news events, and with the impeachment trial over, there was bound to be a week-to-week decline.
Despite the drop-off, CNN was still able to beat both Fox News and MSNBC among adults 25-54, and delivered more year-over-year growth than its competitors. Year over year, the network grew +68% in total prime time viewers, +47% in the prime time demo, +63% in total day viewers and +52% in the total day demo.
MSNBC saw significant audience decline as well. Relative to impeachment week, the network was -24% in total prime time viewers, -33% in the prime time demo, -34% in total day viewers and -41% in the total day demo.
What about year over year? The network had issues in prime time, -12% in total viewers and -31% in the demo. The trend in total day, however, was positive. The network grew +15% in total day viewers and +4% in the total day demo.
MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show was the second-highest-rated cable news show of the week, averaging nearly 3.2 million total viewers and 480,000 adults 25-54.
The week of Feb 15, 2021, Monday-Sunday:
|PRIME TIME||Fox News||MSNBC||CNN|
|• Total Viewers:||2,486,000||1,967,000||1,634,000|
|TOTAL DAY||Fox News||MSNBC||CNN|
|• Total Viewers:||1,325,000||1,185,000||1,032,000|
HGTV, History, Hallmark Channel, TNT, ESPN, TLC and TBS round out the 10-most-watched cable nets last week in prime time. HGTV, Hallmark, Food Network, Investigation Discovery, History, TNT and USA round out the 10-most-watched cable nets for last week in total day.
Basic cable network ranker (by total viewers)
*Nielsen Live+Same-Day Data