Week of May 2 Basic Cable Ranker: Fox News Remains Most-Watched in Total Day, No. 2 in Primetime

By A.J. Katz 

Fox News Channel was the most-watched basic cable network in total day and the second-most-watched in primetime during the week of May 2. The cable news powerhouse also averaged more total viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined for the 38th consecutive week.

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, Fox News averaged 2.29 million total viewers in primetime this past week, No. 2 behind TNT. The 2.29 million figure is -1% from what the network averaged in the daypart the previous week (April 25). Fox News also averaged 352,000 adults 25-54 in primetime, which is -2% from the week prior and No. 3 behind the networks carrying the NBA and NHL playoffs, which are TNT ( 1.38 million – No. 1) and ESPN (613,000 – No. 2).

Fox News also averaged 1.5 million total viewers in total day during the week of May 2, which is -1% from the network posted in the daypart the previous week. FNC also averaged 241,000 adults 25-54 in total day, No. 3 on basic cable behind TNT (379,000) and ESPN (296,000)—and steady with the prior week.

CNN and MSNBC struggled by their respective standards.

MSNBC finished last week No. 5 on cable in total primetime viewers, failing to crack a million (996,000) during a non-holiday week for the first time since 2016. The 996,000 primetime viewer average is -16% from what the network averaged in the daypart the previous week. MSNBC also averaged 631,000 total day viewers last week, No. 3 on basic cable but -8% from the prior week. When it came to adults 25-54, MSNBC averaged 107,000 in primetime this past week—which is -13% from the prior week—and 69,000 adults 25-54 in total day, which is -7% from the prior week. The network remains a distant third in the key measurement behind Fox News and CNN. While the story remains positive for MSNBC in total viewers, it continues to look bleak among the A25-54 demo.

CNN averaged 605,000 total viewers in primetime last week, No. 13 on all of basic cable and -20% from the week prior, when the network televised the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. CNN’s A25-54 viewership in primetime was down from the prior week as well (-16%). The network averaged 478,000 viewers in total day, No. 6 on all of cable and -12% from the prior week. The network also averaged 102,000 adults 25-54 in total day, No. 14 on basic cable and -6% from the previous week.

How did cable news’ “big three” fare relative to the same week in 2021? (Week of May 3)  Fox gained +6% in average total primetime viewers, +3% from the primetime demo, +27% in total day viewers and +19% in the total day demo vs. the same week in 2021. CNN and MSNBC, which were giving Fox a run for their money at this time last year, continue to see double-digit dips from the year-ago week. CNN dropped -34% in average total primetime viewers, -37% in the primetime demo, -23% in total day viewers and -32% in the total day demo. MSNBC also shed -34% in average total primetime viewers, as well as -46% in the primetime demo, -26% in total day viewers and -37% in the total day demo vs. the year-ago week.

Week of May 2, 2022 cable news ratings, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen live-same-day data):

PRIME Fox News MSNBC CNN
• Total Viewers: 2,286,000 996,000 605,000
• A25-54: 352,000 107,000 131,000

 

 

 

TOTAL DAY Fox News MSNBC CNN
• Total Viewers: 1,484,000 631,000 478,000
• A25-54: 241,000 69,000 102,000

 

 

 

On the cable news programming front, Fox News’ The Five remained the most-watched show on cable news this past week, averaging 3.27 million total viewers at 5 p.m. Tucker Carlson Tonight took second place in total viewers, averaging 3.16 million at 8 p.m., Hannity at No. 3 ( 2.655 million viewers at 9 p.m.),  Special Report with Bret Baier at No. 4 (2.49 million at 6 p.m.), with Jesse Watters Primetime, which featured guest hosts throughout the week, rounding out the top five in average total viewers ( 2.35 million at 7 p.m.).

Tucker Carlson Tonight remained the top-rated cable news show among adults 25-54—averaging 517,000 this past week—and Fox News as a network secured 9 of the 10-most-watched cable news shows of the week and the top 15 in the key A25-54 demo.

MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show was the sole non-Fox show to break the cable news top 10 in total viewers (1.94 million–No. 8).

Additionally, below are the most-watched basic cable networks for the week. The left column is ranked by most to fewest average total primetime viewers—and the right column is ranked by most to fewest average total viewers across total day (6 a.m-6 a.m.).

Week of May 2 (Total Viewers)

Finally, the left column below is ranked by most to fewest average adults 25-54 watching in primetime— and the right column is ranked by most to fewest adults 25-54 watching across total day (6 a.m-6 a.m.).

Week of May 2 (Adults 25-54)

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