Week of July 26 Cable Network Ranker: Fox News Remains Most-Watched on Cable, But Sees Decline in Adults 25-54

By A.J. Katz 

Fox News Channel was the most-watched network during the week of July 26, both in total day and in primetime dayparts.

In addition to finishing No. 1 in total viewers, Fox News also finished No. 3 on basic cable in the A25-54 total day demo (after finishing No. 1 in that measurement the previous week). The network finished No. 6 on basic cable in the primetime A25-54 demo after finishing No. 2 the previous week.

Speaking of primetime, according to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, Fox News averaged 1.99 million total viewers and 272,000 in the 25-54 demo during the week of July 26. That’s -5% and -18%, respectively, from what the network averaged in those measurements the previous week (July 19, 2021). However, Fox News did average more total primetime viewers last week than CNN and MSNBC combined.


In total day, Fox News averaged 1.13 million total viewers (-5% from the prior week), marking 24 consecutive weeks as the most-watched cable news network in total day. The network also averaged 170,000 adults 25-54 in total day, which is a -15% drop off from the prior week.

Tucker Carlson Tonight remained the No. 1 show on cable news last week, averaging 2.9 million viewers, and 425,000 in the 25-54 demo. The program averaged 3 million total viewers to go with 515,000 adults 25-54 the previous week.  Fox had the top 5 shows on cable news in total viewers. After Carlson, came The Five, Hannity, The Ingraham Angle and Special Report with Bret Baier rounding out the top five. MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show finished No. 6 in average total viewers last week.

Speaking of MSNBC, the network finished No. 3 on basic cable in average total primetime audience this past week (1.13 million viewers) after coming in second the prior week. The network fell from 2nd to 3rd on basic cable in total day viewers (751,000). MSNBC finished No. 18 in adults 25-54 during primetime (157,000), and No. 18 in adults 25-54 during total day (99,000).

Relative to the previous week, MSNBC shed -10% of its average total prime time audience, and -8% in the prime time demo. The network actually gained +2% in average total day audience, but shed -2% in the total day demo from the previous week.

CNN averaged 706,000 total viewers in prime time (No. 9 on basic cable), and 558,000 in total day (No. 5 on basic cable) during the week of July 26. The network dropped in the A25-54 rankings, averaging 150,000 adults 25-54 in primetime (No. 23 on basic cable), and 110,000 adults 25-54 in total day (No. 14 on basic cable).

How do those figures stack up against comparable weeks? CNN shed -9% in average total primetime viewers, and -14% in the primetime demo from the prior week.  CNN, like MSNBC gained total viewers in total day (+2%) but shed -4% in the total day demo from the prior week.

CNN beat MSNBC in the total day demo, but fell short of its rival in the primetime demo, as well as in primetime and total day viewers.

Week of July 26 cable news ratings, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen live-same-day data):

• Total Viewers: 1,986,000 1,127,000 706,000
• A25-54: 272,000 157,000 150,000




• Total Viewers: 1,129,000 751,000 558,000
• A25-54: 170,000 99,000 110,000




How about the broader basic cable landscape?

After Fox News, USA, MSNBC, HGTV, TLC, Hallmark Channel, INSP, TNT, CNN and TBS round out basic cable’s top 10 in average total primetime viewers. In total day, Fox News and USA are followed by MSNBC, HGTV, CNN, Hallmark Channel, ID, NBCSN, INSP, and TNT.

Week of July 26 basic cable ranker (Total Viewers)

Among adults 25-54, USA, TBS, TNT, TLC, ESPN, Fox News, HGTV, NBCSN, Adult Swim and Food Network are the top 10 in primetime. USA, NBCSN, Fox News, ID, TNT, HGTV, ESPN, TBS, Food and TV Land are the top 10 in total day.

Week of July 26 basic cable ranker (Adults 25-54)