Week of July 17 Basic Cable Ranker: With Reshuffled Primetime Lineup, Top-Ranked Fox News Posts Double Digit Percent Viewer Gains

By A.J. Katz 

With week one in the books, it appears the reshuffled Fox News primetime lineup did exactly what the organization’s powers-that-be thought and hoped it would do: Boost Nielsen ratings.

FNC averaged more than 1.86 million primetime viewers for the week of July 17, per live plus same day data from Nielsen. That’s the largest average audience on basic cable and +26% from the week prior (July 10, 2023). The network also averaged 181,000 A25-54 viewers in primetime, No. 6 on basic cable and a solid +39% from the week prior.

In terms of total day viewing, Fox’s week-to-week gains weren’t quite as significant. The network averaged 1.12 million total viewers, still No. 1 on all of basic cable for the 29th consecutive week, and +4% from the week prior.  Additionally, Fox News averaged 128,000 A25-54 in total day, No. 3 among basic cable networks and +7% from the week prior.


MSNBC took the No. 2 spot in total primetime viewers this past week (up one spot from the week before), averaging a total of 1.2 million viewers in the daypart. That happens to be +2% from the week before. In addition, MSNBC averaged 121,000 A25-54 viewers in primetime, which is +15% from the previous week and No. 19 on basic cable.

In total day, NBCU’s politics-focused cable channel averaged 779,000 total viewers, +7% from the prior week and No. 2 among all basic cable networks (again behind only Fox News). Additionally, MSNBC averaged 84,000 A25-54, No. 14 among all cable networks and a solid +17% gain from the previous week.

After an especially low-rated week of July 10, CNN posted slight gains this past week. The network averaged 98,000 demo viewers in primetime during the week of July 17, +10% from the week before and No. 28 on all of basic cable. In addition to the 98,000 A25-54, CNN averaged 523,000 total primetime viewers, +4% from the week before, and No. 12 overall.

In total day, CNN averaged 426,000 total viewers (No. 5 on basic cable) and 75,000 A25-54 (tied for No. 18 on basic cable with A&E). That’s +4%, and +4%, respectively, from what the network averaged in those two measurements the previous week.

How did the networks fare against the same week one year ago?. That was a news-heavy week highlighted by live coverage of the Jan. 6 committee primetime hearing on Thursday, July 21, 2022, and breaking news of Pres. Biden’s positive Covid-19 test.

Needless to say, the year-over-year ratings trend isn’t great. Fox News shed -16% in total primetime viewers, -40% in the primetime demo, -26% in total day viewers and -36% in the total day demo vs. the year-ago week of July 18, 2022. After a stretch of abnormally-large audiences in the late-spring, MSNBC is seeing year-over-year losses this summer. That continued this past week. The network shed -29% in total primetime viewers, -34% in the primetime demo, -8% in total day viewers and -7% in the total day demo from the year-ago week. CNN’s trend is especially poor with no breaking news to match last year’s. The network dropped by -48% in total primetime viewers, a whopping -56% in the primetime demo, -26% in total day viewers and -36% in the total day demo vs. the year-ago week.

Week of July 17 cable news ratings, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen live-same-day data):

• Total Viewers: 1,862,000 1,200,000 523,000
• A25-54: 181,000 121,000 98,000




• Total Viewers: 1,122,000 779,000 426,000
• A25-54: 128,000 84,000 75,000




The Five remains the No. 1 show on cable news for the 12th consecutive week, averaging 2.62 million total viewers at 5 p.m. for the week of July 17.

Fox News had seven of the 10 most-watched cable news shows of the week, including each of the top five.

Aided by his Tuesday, July 18 taped town hall with Trump (2.85 million viewers), Hannity secured second place on cable news for the week behind The Five with a 2.375 million viewer average at 9 p.m. In his new 8 p.m. timeslot, Jesse Watters Primetime averaged 2.315 million viewers. That’s substantially up from the interim 8 p.m. show Fox News Tonight (roughly +50%), but a smaller audience than that of the most recent regularly-scheduled 8 p.m. offering Tucker Carlson Tonight.

Gutfeld!, in its new 10 p.m. timeslot, finished No. 4 in total viewers (1.945 million), followed by the new 7 p.m. The Ingraham Angle (1.89 million), MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell finished No. 6 (1.74 million at 10 p.m.), followed by the 6 p.m. Special Report with Bret Baier (1.72 million at 6 p.m.), MSNBC’s Deadline: White House with Nicolle Wallace (1.5 million from 4-6 p.m.), Outnumbered (1.43 million at 12 p.m.), and MSNBC’s The Beat with Ari Melber (1.41 million at 6 p.m.) rounding out the top 10.

Fox News has eight of the top 10 cable news shows of the week among Adults 25-54, including each of the top six, led by The Five (260,000). Coming in at No. 2 is Gutfeld! (241,000), his primetime colleagues Hannity (206,000) and Jesse Watters Primetime (198,000), followed by Outnumbered (169,000), The Faulkner Focus (167,000), The Last Word (166,000), The Ingraham Angle (163,000).

Special Report with Bret Baier and 6 p.m. competitor The Beat with Ari Melber both averaged 151,000 A25-54 viewers in the hour.

Lastly, below are the basic cable network rankers — sorted by average total viewers followed by A25-54.

Week of July 17 (Total Viewers)

Week of July 17 (Adults 25-54)