Week of May 25 Basic Cable Ranker: CNN Takes First Among Adults 25-54, While Fox News Averaged Most Total Viewers

By A.J. Katz 

We’re used to seeing Fox News deliver a massive total audience in the total day and prime-time dayparts each week. And they did again this past week. However, it’s also worth noting that CNN drew one of its largest audiences of 2020 this past week, really driven by its wall-to-wall live coverage of the police murder of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that have followed.

And of course, there’s the continuing coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic that can continues to provide the network was nice ratings on a year-over-year basis.

CNN not only finished No. 2 in total day and prime-time audience across basic cable, but it also beat rivals Fox News and MSNBC in the key A25-54 demo, averaging 772,000 A25-54 viewers in prime-time, and 454,000 A25-54 viewers in total day.


Fox News continued to finish No. 1 in total viewers.However, the network averaged 650,000 A25-54 viewers in prime-time and 389,000 demo viewers in total day, a rare second place in the demo behind CNN.

MSNBC took a rare third place finish behind Fox News and CNN not only in the key A25-54 demo, but also in Total Viewers.

Fox News advanced its streak to 21 straight weeks in total day and for 19 weeks in a row in prime-time as the most-watched network on all of basic cable. The network averaged 3.42 million viewers in prime time, and 2 million in total day. FNC was led by its 8 p.m. program Tucker Carlson Tonight, the most-watched show on all of prime-time cable news for the week.

Hannity was No. 1 at 9 p.m., and No. 2 across cable news.

FNC’s coverage of of the SpaceX launch on Saturday, May 30 drew 4.5 million viewers from 3-4 p.m. ET, making it the most-watched hour of the week on cable news.

Speaking of the weekend – Fox News was the most-watched network for total day and prime-time coverage of the George Floyd police murder protests, while CNN was the go-to cable news network for live coverage among adults 25-54.

Nielsen numbers for the week of May 25 (Monday-Sunday):

PRIME TIME (8-11 p.m.)

• Total Viewers: 3,418,000 2,312,000 2,032,000
• A25-54: 650,000 772,000 348,000




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

• Total Viewers: 2,008,000 1,437,000 1,259,000
• A25-54: 389,000 454,000 213,000




History Channel was the fourth-most-watched basic cable network of the week in prime-time, followed by HGTV, TLC, TBS, Hallmark, ID and sister network Discovery.

In total day, cable news’ big three are followed by HGTV, History, Food Network, Hallmark Channel, Nickelodeon, USA, and ID.

Basic Cable Ranker: Week of May 25 (Total Viewers)