Week of July 6 Basic Cable Ranker: Fox News, MSNBC, CNN Remain the 3-Most-Watched Networks on All of Cable

By A.J. Katz 

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The Nielsen live-plus-same-day data for the week of July 6 is in, and Fox News will finish as the most-watched network on all of cable across total day and prime time, advancing its streak to 27 straight weeks at No.1 in total day and 25 weeks in a row in prime time among total viewers.

Fox News also topped the cable competition across both dayparts in the key A25-54 demographic, averaging 560,000 viewers in prime time and 291,000 in total day.

Hannity was No. 1 on cable news this past week, averaging the most total viewers (4.12 million) and the most in the key demo (734,000).

On Thursday, July 9, his phone interview with President Trump was the most-watched telecast on prime-time television for the week, delivering 4.5 million total viewers and 835,000 in the demo.

Presentations of Hannity, Tucker Carlson Tonight, The Ingraham Angle, The Five, Special Report with Bret Baier and The Story with Martha MacCallum (with Trace Gallagher filling in) comprised six of the 10 most-watched programs in cable news. Additionally, the network had five prime-time telecasts that averaged over 4 million total viewers and comprised nine of the 10-most-watched cable telecasts in total viewers.

FNC was also +41% in total prime-time viewers and +25% in total day viewers versus the comparable week in 2019 (the week of July 8, 2019).

Despite those positives, Fox News did lose some traction from the previous week (the week of June 29). FNC was -4% in total prime-time viewers, -3% in the prime-time demo, -4% in total day viewers and flat in the total day demo.

CNN continues to deliver a far-larger-than-normal audience during this crazy news cycle. Last year, and prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the network hovered around the No. 10-15 range in total viewers. Now, it’s consistently a top 5 cable network in total viewers.

This past week, CNN finished No. 3 in total viewers and posted the most year-over-year growth, +80% in total prime time viewers and +81% in total day viewers. It also beat MSNBC among adults 25-54.

However, like Fox, CNN was down week-to-week. The network was -7% in total prime time viewers: -2% in the prime-time demo, -2% in total day viewers, but flat in the total day demo.

MSNBC finished No. 2 in total viewers (only behind Fox News) and third in the A25-54 demo (behind Fox News and CNN) this past week. While that finish isn’t out of the ordinary relative to recent weeks, the week was a positive one for MSNBC in that viewership was up on a week-to-week basis. Neither Fox News nor CNN saw audience growth from the previous week. MSNBC did.

In fact, MSNBC was +10% in total prime-time viewers, +11% in the prime-time demo, +4% in total day viewers and +4% in the total day demo.

Here are the Nielsen live-plus-same-day numbers for the week of July 6 (Monday-Sunday, live-plus-same-day data):

PRIME TIME (8-11 p.m.)

• Total Viewers: 3,292,000 2,183,000 1,469,000
• A25-54: 560,000 315,000 388,000




TOTAL DAY (6 a.m.-6 a.m.)

• Total Viewers: 1,653,000 1,242,000 999,000
• A25-54: 291,000 182,000 253,000




Here’s the full basic cable ranker:

Basic cable ranker: Week of July 6 (Total Viewers)