Week of Jan. 31 Basic Cable Ranker: Fox News Posts Week-to-Week and Year-Over-Year Growth in Primetime

By A.J. Katz 

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

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data for the week of Jan. 31, 2022, Fox News averaged 2.52 million total viewers in primetime, which is No. 1 on basic cable and +3% from the previous week. FNC averaged 395,000 adults 25-54 in primetime, which is +1% from the week prior and No. 3 on all of basic cable behind USA (536,000) and ESPN (441,000).

Additionally, Fox News averaged 1.52 million total viewers in total day during the week of Jan. 31, making it the most-watched network on basic cable in the Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-6 a.m. time period yet again. FNC averaged 244,000 adults 25-54 in total day this past week, placing it at No. 3 on basic cable (behind USA and ESPN). Unlike in primetime, Fox News saw some week-to-week decline in total day viewing. The network shed -2% in average total day viewers and -4% in total day adults 25-54. FNC still averaged more total viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined for the 25th consecutive week.


MSNBC earned the No. 3 ranking on basic cable in total day and primetime total viewers after finishing No. 2 the previous week. The network averaged 1.25 million total viewers in primetime (less than -1% from the prior week) and 690,000 viewers in total day (+2% from the prior week). MSNBC averaged 137,000 adults 25-54 in primetime (-6% week-to-week) and 79,000 adults 25-54 in total day (+4% week to week). The network ranked No. 25 among the primetime demo and No. 26 among the total day demo during the week of Jan. 31.

MSNBC beat CNN in average total viewers and among the primetime demo. However, as is traditionally the case, the network failed to beat CNN in the total day demo, despite the week-to-week growth.

Last week was a rough one for CNN, with Jeff Zucker resigning from the network. However, there is a bit of good news: The network managed to deliver audience week-to-week audience growth in multiple measurements and across multiple dayparts. The network averaged 555,000 total viewers in primetime (+2% week to week)—No. 18 on basic cable—and 123,000 viewers from the primetime demo (+5% week to week), No. 26 on basic cable. Additionally, CNN averaged 467,000 total viewers in total day (+3% week to week)—No. 9 on basic cable—and 91,000 adults 25-54 in total day (+1% week to week), placing it at No. 19 on basic cable.

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

Fox News’ audience has returned in full force after those Q1 ’21 struggles. Compared to the year-ago week. when Fox News finished No. 3 in total day viewers, Fox grew by +21%. The network also shot up +7% in total primetime viewers, +12% in the primetime demo, and +22% in the total day demo. MSNBC shed -49% in total day viewers and -45% in total primetime viewers from the comparable week in 2021. CNN fell more than its competition when it came to total day viewers (-63%) and total primetime viewers (-69%), the primetime demo (-72%) and total day demo (-70%). CNN was delivering network-record ratings at this time in 2021, achieving a No. 1 ranking on basic cable among adults 25-54 during the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election. Not so much anymore.

On the programming front, week No. 2 of Jesse Watters Primetime averaged 3.06 million viewers and 469,000 A25-54, making it the No. 3 program in cable news yet again, behind  The Five (3.625 million total viewers/517,000 adults 25-54), and Tucker Carlson Tonight (3.61 million/593,000 adults 25-54).  Hannity (2.95 million) finished No. 4 followed by Special Report with Bret Baier (2.53 million). Fox News’ late-night program Gutfeld! had its most-watched week of the year, averaging 2.05 million total viewers and 357,000 adults 25-54.

Week of Jan. 31, 2022 cable news ratings, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen live-same-day data):

• Total Viewers: 2,523,000 1,252,000 555,000
• A25-54: 395,000 137,000 123,000




• Total Viewers: 1,517,000 690,000 467,000
• A25-54: 244,000 79,000 91,000




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. 31 (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. 31 (Adults 25-54)