Week of July 3 Basic Cable Ranker: Fox News Is Basic Cable’s Most-Watched; CNN Beats Rivals in A25-54 Demo

By A.J. Katz 

With the week of July 3, 2023 now complete, Fox News Channel can officially mark back-to-back weeks as the most watched basic cable network in both primetime and total day viewing. FNC can also mark its 125th consecutive week as the most-watched cable news network in total day.

However, as one might expect during a holiday week (Independence Day fell on a Tuesday this year) and when the regularly-scheduled hosts are given multiple days off, Fox News posted week-to-week ratings losses. The network averaged 1.215 million primetime viewers for the week of July 3, per data from Nielsen, which is -14% from the week prior (June 26, 2023). FNC also averaged 103,000 A25-54 viewers in primetime, a drop of -25% from the week prior. The network also fell to No. 24 in the primetime demo this past week, one spot behind a certain cable news rival.

In terms of total day viewing, Fox News averaged 975,000 total viewers, No. 1 for the 27th consecutive week, but -9% from the week prior. Rarely does Fox average fewer than a million viewers in total day, but it happened this past week. Additionally, Fox finished No. 6 among Adults 25-54 in total day (109,000), which is -11% from the week prior, but more than what the network averaged in primetime and more than what its cable news competitors averaged in the daypart.


CNN averaged 110,000 A25-54 in primetime this past week. That’s -12% from the prior week, but actually one spot and +7,000 more than Fox News (No. 23 vs. No. 24). CNN averaged 543,000 total primetime viewers, -5% from the week before, No. 11 overall and a substantially smaller total audience than Fox News and MSNBC (as per usual). In total day, CNN averaged 424,000 total day viewers (No. 5 on basic cable) and 82,000 A25-54 (No. 15 on basic cable). That’s -7%, and -9%, respectively, from the previous week.

With fewer Americans than usual watching cable news this past week, MSNBC dropped from No. 2 to No. 3 in total primetime viewers. The network averaged a total of 856,000 viewers in the daypart, which is -28% from the previous week and a much steeper week-to-week decline than what its cable news counterparts experienced. In addition, the network averaged just 82,000 A25-54 viewers in primetime, which is also -28% from the previous week and tied for No. 32 on basic cable with ESPN2.

In total day, NBCU’s politics-focused cable channel averaged 599,000 total viewers, once again No. 2 among all basic cable networks (behind only Fox News). However, that figure is -24% from the previous week. Additionally, MSNBC averaged only 62,000 A25-54 during the holiday week, No. 25 among all cable networks and -26% from the previous week.

MSNBC still beat CNN in average total viewers, but came up far short when it came to drawing A25-54 viewers.

How did the big three cable newsers fare relative to the year-ago week? Not great.

Despite the first place finishes, Fox News continues to slide. The network is -38% in total primetime viewers, a whopping -64% in the primetime demo, -26% in total day viewers and -45% in the total day demo vs. the week of July 4, 2022. After a stretch of abnormally-large audiences, MSNBC saw year-over-year losses again. The network shed -13% in total primetime viewers, -11% in the primetime demo, -10% in total day viewers and -15% in the total day demo. CNN dropped by 23-% in total primetime viewers, -28% in the primetime demo, -21% in total day viewers and -26% in the total day demo vs. the year-ago week.

Week of July 3 cable news ratings, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen live-same-day data):

• Total Viewers: 1,215,000 856,000 543,000
• A25-54: 103,000 82,000 110,000




• Total Viewers: 975,000 599,000 424,000
• A25-54: 109,000 62,000 82,000




The Five is the No. 1 show on cable news for the 11th consecutive week, averaging more than 2.36 million total viewers at 5 p.m. for the week of July 3.

Fox News had eight of the 10 most-watched cable news shows of the week, including the top eight. MSNBC placed nine and ten.

Jesse Watters Primetime secured second place behind The Five with a 1.63 million viewer average at 7 p.m. Watters is followed by Special Report with Bret Baier (1.61 million at 6 p.m.) Hannity (1.51 million at 9 p.m.), Gutfeld! (1.50 million at 11 p.m.), Outnumbered (1.39 million at 12 p.m.), The Ingraham Angle (1.365 million at 10 p.m.), Fox News Tonight (1.34 million at 8 p.m.)  Rounding out the top 10 in total viewers are MSNBC’s The Beat with Ari Melber (1.33 million at 6 p.m.), and The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell (1.33 million at 10 p.m.)

Fox News has eight of the top 10 cable news offerings of the week among Adults 25-54, including the top seven.

In addition to being No. 1 in total viewers, The Five marks another week at No. 1 on cable news among A25-54, averaging 229,000 from the measurement at 5 p.m. Gutfeld! remains No. 2 in the demo for a third consecutive week (215,000), followed by Outnumbered (165,000), The Ingraham Angle (149,000), and The Faulkner Focus (143,000). Special Report (140,000), America’s Newsroom (140,000), MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes (131,000) and The Last Word (126,000) followed by Hannity (122,000) rounding out the top 10 among A25-54.

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

Week of July 3 (Total Viewers)

Week of July 3 (Adults 25-54)