Week of Nov. 16 Basic Cable Ranker: CNN Is No. 1 In Demo for 3rd Straight Week; Fox News Averages Most Total Viewers

By A.J. Katz 

For the third consecutive week, CNN averaged the most adults 25-54 on cable news, both in prime time (538,000) and in total day (354,000).

CNN saw ratings decline from post-election week, which isn’t a surprise considering the network’s dominant performance in recent weeks, and the fact that interest in the news wanes a bit immediately after an election. CNN was down double digits in the major measurements and dayparts from the prior week, but its year-over-year trend remained strong.

CNN also relinquished a two-week-long stranglehold on first place on cable news in total day viewers. It was No. 2 across basic cable in total day viewers (only behind Fox News), and the fourth-most-watched basic cable network of the week in prime time.

Anderson Cooper 360 and Cuomo Prime Time were the 2nd and 3rd-most-watched cable news shows of the week among adults 25-54, averaging 658,000 and 649,000 from the demo, respectively.

Fox News returned to No. 1 across basic cable in total day viewers (1.5 million), although the margin between Fox News, CNN and MSNBC in terms of viewership across total day was tighter than normal.

The network remained the most-watched cable network in prime time (3.1 million) for the second consecutive week.

Tucker Carlson hosted the most-watched program in cable news last week, averaging 4.2 million viewers and also ranking No. 1 among adults 25-54 (728,000). Sean Hannity had the No. 2 cable news show in total viewers (3.7 million).

MSNBC finished in third place, both on cable news and across basic cable, NBC’s politics-focused cable newser was the only major cable newser to post week-to-week growth in total prime time viewers (+2%), possibly fueled by the return of Rachel Maddow. MSNBC was -1% in the prime time demo, and lost a larger chunk of its total day audience from the prior week.

ESPN was the No. 2 basic cable network last week in total prime time viewers, finishing ahead of MSNBC, CNN and Hallmark Channel. ESPN slipped to No. 5 in total day viewers, while Hallmark moved up to No. 4 in total day viewers.

One should expect these specific networks to move back and forth between the top 5 spots as we enter the end of the NFL regular season, and of course, the holiday movie season.

• Total Viewers: 3,083,000 2,083,000 2,253,000
• A25-54: 500,000 538,000 362,000




• Total Viewers: 1,500,000 1,420,000 1,405,000
• A25-54: 254,000 354,000 221,000




Basic cable ranker: Week of Nov. 16 (Total Viewers)