Week of July 5 Basic Cable Ranker: Fox News Returns to No. 1 in Primetime as Top News Networks Shed Viewers

By A.J. Katz 

All three major cable news networks saw week-to-week Nielsen ratings losses, with the federal holiday on Monday likely playing a role in the decline.

Despite said decline, Fox News Channel was the most-watched basic cable network during the week of July 5, both in total day and in primetime.

The network also climbed to No. 2 on cable in total day among adults 25-54, remained No. 3 in primetime among adults 25-54 and, in terms of primetime, Fox News averaged 2.05 million total viewers (-6%), and 309,000 in the 25-54 demo (-9%) during the week of July 5. In total day, the network delivered an average of 1.18 million total viewers (-5% from the prior week), marking 21 consecutive weeks as the most-watched cable news network in total day. The network also averaged 193,000 adults 25-54 in total day, which is an -8% drop off from the prior week.


Tucker Carlson Tonight remained the No. 1 show on cable news last week, averaging 3.2 million viewers, and 526,000 in the 25-54 demo. The program averaged 3.1 million total viewers to go with 515,000 adults 25-54 the previous week.  Hannity remained the No. 2 show on cable news, followed by The Five, MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, and The Ingraham Angle.

Fox News delivered nine of the top 10 cable news shows in the key A25-54 demo for the week.

With the 2021 NBA Playoffs on TNT complete, MSNBC climbed back up to No. 2 in prime time this past week (1.27 million viewers), and remained No. 2 in average total day viewers (752,000). MSNBC’s performance in the key A25-54 demo weren’t quite as impressive. The network fell to No. 26 in the prime time demo (156,000), and No. 21 in the total day demo last week (100,000).

Relative to the previous week, MSNBC shed -10% of its average total prime time audience, and slipped -13% decline in the prime time demo, -12% in total day viewers and -11% in the total day demo.

CNN averaged 833,000 total viewers in prime time (No. 6 on basic cable), and 598,000 in total day (down to No. 5 on basic cable) during the week of July 5. Among the A25-54 demo, CNN averaged 184,000 primetime viewers (No. 17 on basic cable), and 125,000 total day viewers (No. 11 on basic cable).

CNN’s streak of week-to-week viewership growth came to an end. The network shed -19% of its average total prime time audience from the prior week, shed nearly a fifth of its primetime demo (-19%), lost -12% in total day viewers, and -15% in the total day demo from the prior week.

As has become custom in recent months, CNN beat MSNBC in the adults 25-54 demo, while MSNBC beat CNN in average total viewers.

Week of July 5 cable news ratings, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen live-same-day data):

• Total Viewers: 2,046,000 1,266,000 833,000
• A25-54: 309,000 156,000 184,000




• Total Viewers: 1,175,000 752,000 598,000
• A25-54: 193,000 100,000 125,000




How about the broader basic cable landscape?

After Fox News and MSNBC, HGTV, Hallmark, History, CNN, INSP, TNT, Discovery and TLC round out the top 10 in average total primetime viewers. In total day, Fox News and MSNBC are followed by ESPN, HGTV, CNN, Hallmark, Food Network, ID, INSP and History.

Week of July 5 basic cable ranker (Total Viewers)

Among adults 25-54, TNT led the way in primetime, followed by HGTV, Fox News, Discovery, TBS, Food Network, FS1, TLC, USA and ESPN. In total day, ESPN took the top spot among adults 25-54, allowed by Fox News, HGTV, TNT, Food Network, ID, TBS, USA, Discovery and TV Land rounding out the top 10.

Week of July 5 basic cable ranker (Adults 25-54)