Week of May 4 Basic Cable Ranker: Fox News Marks 18 Straight Weeks at No. 1, But Sees Some Week-to-Week Losses

By A.J. Katz 

Fox News continued to dominate the cable ratings race, marking 18 straight weeks as the most-watched basic cable network in total day and 16 weeks in a row as the most-watched basic cable network in prime time, according to live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen.

During the week of May 4, FNC averaged 1.89 million viewers and 311,000 in the 25-54 demo in total day. In prime time, Fox News averaged 3.52 million viewers and 538,000 in the A25-54 demo.

While massive, those audience figures are actually down from what the network delivered during the week of April 27.

Hannity was the most-watched show on cable for the entire week (4.3 million viewers on average), garnering more Total Viewers than ESPN’s critically acclaimed docuseries The Last Dance (though trailing The Last Dance in all under-55 demos).

Tucker Carlson Tonight scored the top spot in cable news among the A25-54 demo, with 711,000 demo viewers and 4.2 million total viewers.

Additionally, FNC earned the five-most-watched cable news telecasts of the week and the six-highest-rated in A25-54.

MSNBC edged CNN as the second-most-watched basic cable network in prime time (1.845 million versus 1.5 million) and beat CNN in total day viewers (1.13 million versus 1.02 million). However, CNN averaged more Adults 25-54.

Speaking of Adults 25-54, the key demo for advertisers, Fox averaged 538,000 in prime time and 311,000 in total day. CNN averaged 390,000 Adults 25-54 in prime time and 261,000 in total day. MSNBC averaged 269,000 Adults 25-54 in prime time and 164,000 in total day.

Versus the prior week of April 27, Fox News was down in multiple dayparts and measurements: -3% in total day viewers, -5% in prime-time viewers, -10% in the prime-time demo and -11% in the total day demo.

MSNBC was +1% in prime-time viewers week to week, but posted losses in other categories. The network was -2% in total day viewers, -6% in the prime-time demo and -9% in the total day demo.

CNN was -4% in total prime-time viewers, -4% in total day viewers, -3% in the prime-time demo and -6% in the total day demo.

Year over year (week of May 6, 2019), all three networks continued to trend well. It also helps that there’s no NBA Playoffs broadcasts that the news networks have to contend with this month, which they had to at this time last year.

CNN was +86% in total prime-time viewers and +80% in total day viewers. Fox News was +50% year over year in prime time and +38% in total day. MSNBC didn’t change as much: +8% in prime time and +23% in total day viewership.

Cooking and home improvement-themed outlets HGTV, TLC and Food Network remained the top non-cable news networks in total viewership.

Basic cable ranker: Week of May 4 (Total Viewers)

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