Week of July 25 Basic Cable Ranker: Top-Ranked Fox News Grows From Year-Ago Week, But Is Down From Previous Week

By A.J. Katz 

Fox News Channel is once again the No. 1 basic cable news outlet in average total viewers, both in total day and also in primetime.

According to live plus same day data from Nielsen, FNC averaged 2.14 million total viewers in primetime this past week, No. 1 on basic cable (ahead of Discovery’s Shark Week programming) and -4% from the prior week. In the adults 25-54 demo, the network came in third, averaging 277,000 viewers in primetime, down -9% from the week prior and behind Discovery Shark Week (377,000) as well as TBS (314,000). In total day, Fox News’ 1.38 million total viewer average is No. 1 on basic cable—and a -2% loss from the week prior. The network also averaged 182,000 in the adults 25-54 demo in total day, No. 1 in basic cable but down -8% from last week.

CNN experienced significant losses this past week, following a huge gain in viewership that had been driven by Jan. 6 committee hearing coverage (Thursday, July 21). CNN averaged just 620,000 total viewers in primetime during the week of July 25, placing the network at No. 12 in basic cable and No. 3 on cable news—down -38% from the week prior. Its viewership in the demo in primetime (129,000) placed it at No. 21 on basic cable and -43% from the week prior.


CNN also saw a sharp decline in total day viewing, averaging 485,000 total viewers (-43%), ranking No. 5 in basic cable. The network also dropped among adults 25-54 in total day, averaging 95,000 viewers (-19%) and earning a ranking of No. 14.

MSNBC remained the second most-watched network on basic cable in total viewers. It averaged 1.14 million total viewers in primetime for the week of July 25, down from 1.685 million the week prior, a loss of -32%. MSNBC also averaged 101,000 adults 25-54 in primetime, No. 30 on basic cable—and -45% from the prior week. In total day, the network averaged 688,000 total viewers this past week, No. 2 on basic cable—and -19% from the prior week. MSNBC averaged just 71,000 adults 25-54 in total day, which is -21% from the prior week and No. 25 on basic cable.

Looking at the “big three” year-over-year (week of July 26, 2021), only Fox News posted growth in total day and primetime across both total viewers and adults 25-54.  Fox gained +8% in total primetime viewers and +2% in the demo. In total day, FNC gained +22% in total viewers and +7% in the demo. CNN, on the other hand, saw a -12% drop in total primetime viewers and -14% in the demo, as well as a -13% drop in total day viewers and a -14% drop in total day demo. Additionally, MSNBC gained +1% in total primetime viewers, but managed to lose -36% in the primetime demo and decreased -8% in total day—and shed -28% in the total day demo vs. the year-ago week.

Week of July 25 cable news ratings, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen live-same-day data):

• Total Viewers: 2,139,000 1,138,000 620,000
• A25-54: 277,000 101,000 129,000




• Total Viewers: 1,378,000 688,000 485,000
• A25-54: 182,000 71,000 95,000




On the programming front, Fox News’ The Five was the most-watched show of the week for the seventh consecutive week (3.27 million at 5 p.m.), followed by Tucker Carlson Tonight ( 3.065 million at 8 p.m.), Jesse Watters Primetime (2.52 million at 7 p.m.), Hannity (2.5 million at 9 p.m.) and MSNBC’s weekly The Rachel Maddow Show (2.35 million at 9 p.m.) rounding out the top five. Tucker Carlson Tonight (453,000), The Five (386,000), Hannity (326,000), Gutfeld! (310,000) and Jesse Watters Primetime (299,000) were the top five on cable news among adults 25-54.

Week of July 25 (Total Viewers)

Week of July 25 (Adults 25-54)