Week of Jan. 24 Basic Cable Ranker: Fox News Marks Back-to-Back Weeks at No. 1 in Total Viewers

By A.J. Katz 

Fox News Channel and TNT split the basic cable Nielsen ratings race this past week, with FNC averaging the largest total audience and most adults 25-54 in total day and TNT hauling in the most adults 25-54 in primetime.

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data for the week of Jan. 24, 2022, Fox News averaged 2.44 million total viewers in primetime, which is No. 1 on basic cable and +1% from the previous week. FNC averaged 390,000 adults 25-54 in primetime, which is +10% from the week prior and No. 2 on all of basic cable behind TNT (449,000).

Additionally, Fox News averaged 1.55 million total viewers in total day during the week of Jan. 24, making it the most-watched network on basic cable in the Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-6 a.m. time period yet again. FNC also averaged 255,000 adults 25-54 in total day this past week, placing it at No. 1 on basic cable. How do FNC’s figures look relative to the previous week? The network grew +2% in average total day viewers and +5% in total day adults 25-54—and averaged more total viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined for the 24th consecutive week.


A very solid ratings week overall.

MSNBC moved up to the No. 2 ranking on basic cable in total day and primetime total viewers after three consecutive weeks at No. 3. The network averaged 1.26 million total viewers in primetime (+6% from the prior week) and 675,000 viewers in total day (+1% from the prior week). MSNBC averaged 146,000 adults 25-54 in primetime (+9% week-to-week) and 76,000 adults 25-54 in total day (+3% week to week). The network ranked No. 23 among the primetime demo and No. 29 among the total day demo during the week of Jan. 24.

MSNBC beat CNN in average total viewers and among the primetime demo. However, as is traditionally the case, the network fell short of CNN in the total day demo.

Fox News and MSNBC posted week-to-week ratings growth. However, CNN experienced another subpar week. The network averaged 542,000 total viewers in primetime (-6% week to week), which is No. 18 on basic cable and 117,000 viewers from the primetime demo (-9% week to week), No. 28 on basic cable. Additionally, CNN averaged 453,000 total viewers in total day (-4% week to week)—No. 9 on basic cable—and 90,000 adults 25-54 in total day (-4% week to week), placing it at No. 20 on basic cable. The 90,000 A25-54 viewer average in total day represents the network’s smallest delivery in the measurement since June 2014.

CNN beat MSNBC in the total day demo, but fell short to MSNBC in the primetime demo and in total viewers.

All three major cable news network saw losses in primetime from the year-ago week. CNN fell more than its competition when it came to total day viewers (-65%) and total primetime viewers (-70%). CNN was delivering network-record ratings at this time in 2021, achieving a No. 1 ranking on basic cable during what was President Biden’s inauguration week. Not so much anymore.

MSNBC shed -51% in total day viewers and -45% in total primetime viewers from the comparable week in 2021, while Fox News—which finished behind CNN and MSNBC during the year-ago week—shed just -7% in total primetime viewers and -8% in the primetime demo. For the second consecutive week, Fox News, unlike its competition, posted year-over-year growth in average total viewers (+17%) but among the total day demo (+12%).

Fox’s week-to-week growth was aided by big debuts for Jesse Watters Primetime, One Nation with Brian Kilmeade and Lawrence Jones Cross Country.

The 7 p.m. debut of Jesse Watters Primetime averaged 3.26 viewers and 490,000 A25-54, making it the No. 3 program in cable news, behind The Five (3.63 million total viewers/524,000 adults 25-54) and Tucker Carlson Tonight (3.59 million viewers / 602,000 adults 25-54). Watters Primetime gave FNC a +75% increase in average total viewers, +60% in the key A25-54 demo compared to 2021, a +62% increase in average total viewers and +48% in the A25-54 demo compared to 2022 year-to-date. Hannity (2.89 million) fell to fourth, followed by Special Report with Bret Baier (2.77 million), The Ingraham Angle (2.19 million) followed.

MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show was the top non-Fox show of the week, both in total viewers (No. 7 – 2.18 million ) and among adults 25-54 (No. 13 – 260,000).

Week of Jan. 24, 2022 cable news ratings, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen live-same-day data):

• Total Viewers: 2,440,000 1,258,000 542,000
• A25-54: 390,000 146,000 117,000




• Total Viewers: 1,549,000 675,000 453,000
• A25-54: 255,000 76,000 90,000




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 Jan. 24 (Total Viewers)

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 Jan. 24 (Adults 25-54)