Week of May 10 Cable Network Ranker: Fox News Remains No. 1, Grows Audience Week-to-Week

By A.J. Katz 

Fox News was the most-watched cable network during the week of May 10, 2021, averaging 2.3 million viewers and 369,000 in the 25-54 demo during the 8-11 p.m. ET prime time period. In total day (6 a.m.-6 a.m. ET), Fox was once again the only cable net to crack 1 million viewers (1.3 million), and averaged 221,000 in the 25-54 demographic.

As has become the norm in recent weeks, Tucker Carlson Tonight drew the largest audience on cable news, 3.2 million total viewers to go with 516,000 adults 25-54. TCT drew 2.9 million total viewers, but 454,000 adults 25-54 the previous week. Impressive growth for cable news’ top offering.

Tucker Carlson Tonight, The Five, Hannity and The Rachel Maddow Show and The Ingraham Angle were the top five shows on cable news for the week in total viewers.

Additionally, the sixth week of Fox’s new late-night show Gutfeld! marked its highest-rated week since debut, averaging 1.6 million viewers and 333,000 with A25-54, No. 1 in its timeslot.

Compared to the prior week (May 3), Fox News grew by +9% of in average total prime time viewers, +8% in the prime time demo. In total day, Fox News grew +11% in total viewers, and +9% in adults 25-54.

Despite this renewed dominance over CNN and MSNBC, and notable week-to-week growth Fox News still isn’t quite where it was at this time last year (nor is anyone else, for that matter). The comparable week in 2020 (week of May 11) featured pandemic news, the usual non-stop Trump news and presidential primary news. It shouldn’t be a surprise to learn that FNC shed -33% of its average total prime time audience, -32% of its audience in the prime time demo; in total day, the network fell -31% in total viewers, and -31% in the demo.

After a rough string of weeks, CNN finally saw audience growth during the week of May 10. Compared to the prior week, the network grew +1% in total prime time viewers, +8% in the prime time demo, +3% in total day viewers and +3% in the total da demo. CNN jumped up one spot to 3rd place among basic cable networks in total day viewers, and remained steady at No. 4 in total prime time viewership.

CNN lost a larger percentage of its audience versus the comparable week in 2020: -38% in average total prime time viewers, a whopping -45% in the prime time demo, -40% in total day viewers, and -43% in the total day demo.

MSNBC remained the second-most-watched network on basic cable in prime time viewers  However, MSNBC lost traction from the prior week in prime time (-1% in total viewers / -4% in demo) and in total day (-2% in total viewers / -3% in demo).

Versus the same week in 2020, MSNBC shed -28% of its average total prime time audience, -35% of its prime time demo audience, fell -31% in total day viewers and -40% in the total day demo.

Fox News, MSNBC, HGTV, CNN, TNT, Discovery, TBS, Hallmark, INSP and TLC were the 10-most-watched cable networks in prime time last week. Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, HGTV, ID, TNT, INSP, Food Network, Hallmark Channel ad USA were the 10-most-watched cable networks in total day last week.

Boosted by NBA late-regular season coverage, TNT was the top cable network among adults 25-54 in prime time for the second consecutive week (424,000). Fox News, TBS, HGTV, ESPN, USA, Discovery, Food Network, Adult Swim and ID round out the top 10 cable networks among adults 25-54 in prime time. CNN moved to No. 13, while MSNBC finished No. 17.

Fox News captured the most adults 25-54 in total day. Following FNC are TNT, ID, ESPN, HGTV, TBS, Food Network, USA, CNN and Comedy Central. MSNBC finished No. 16.

Week of May 10 cable news ratings, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen live-same-day data):

PRIME TIME Fox News MSNBC CNN
• Total Viewers: 2,348,000 1,487,000 932,000
• A25-54: 369,000 190,000 223,000

 

 

 

TOTAL DAY Fox News MSNBC CNN
• Total Viewers: 1,303,000 833,000 638,000
• A25-54: 221,000 106,000 154,000

 

 

 

The full basic cable rankers:

Week of May 10 basic cable ranker (Total Viewers)

Week of May 10 basic cable ranker (Adults 25-54)

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