Week of May 11 Basic Cable Ranker: Fox News Marks 17 Straight Weeks as Most-Watched Cable Network in Prime Time

By A.J. Katz 

Fox News finished a calendar week as the most-watched cable network once again. FNC averaged 3.5 million total viewers in prime time, more than any other cable network in the daypart for the 17th straight week. Fox News averaged 1.9 million total day viewers, more than any other cable network for the 19th straight week.

During the week of May 11, FNC also averaged 320,000 in the 25-54 demo in total day. In prime time, Fox News averaged 539,000 in the A25-54 demo.

This is all according to the most current live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen.


For the second consecutive week, Hannity was the most-watched show on cable (4.5 million viewers on average), garnering more Total Viewers than ESPN’s critically acclaimed The Last Dance (though trailing the docuseries in all under-55 demos).

This time, Hannity averaged more adults 25-54 than his lead-in, Tucker Carlson Tonight. Hannity averaged 719,000 demo viewers, while Carlson averaged 716,000 demo viewers to go with 4.4 million total viewers.

Additionally, FNC earned the five-most-watched cable news telecasts of the week and the six-highest-rated in A25-54. The network delivered 11 telecasts that surpassed 4 million viewers.

Compared to the previous week, Fox News was flat in total day viewers and -1% in prime-time viewers. The network was flat in the prime-time demo and +3% in the total day demo.

MSNBC and CNN were the second- and third-most-watched basic cable networks this past week.

MSNBC beat CNN as the second-most-watched basic cable network in prime time (2.06 million versus 1.51 million) and beat CNN in total day viewers (1.2 million versus 1.06 million). However, CNN averaged more Adults 25-54 in both of the aforementioned dayparts.

MSNBC grew +12% in prime-time viewers week to week, +6% in total day viewers, +9% in the prime-time demo and +9% in the total day demo. A solid week for MSNBC overall.

CNN also posted week-to-week audience growth. The network was +1% in total prime-time viewers, +3% in total day viewers, +3% in the prime-time demo and +4% in the total day demo.

Year over year (week of May 13, 2019), all three networks continued to trend well. In addition to wall-to-wall coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic, plus an absence of NBA Playoffs broadcasts this year, the year-over-year growth for the big three makes sense.

CNN was a whopping +117% in total prime-time viewers and +103% in total day viewers. Fox News was +49% year over year in prime time and +45% in total day. MSNBC was +39% in prime time and +42% in total day viewership.

Instead of an NBA Playoffs-driven TNT, cooking and home improvement-themed outlets HGTV, TLC and Food Network remained the top noncable news networks in total viewership this past week.


Basic cable ranker: Week of May 11 (Total Viewers)

Basic cable ranker: Week of May 11 (Adults 25-54)