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Week of Nov. 9 Cable Ranker: CNN Is Go-To Network Among Adults 25-54; Fox News Is Most-Watched in Prime Time

By A.J. Katz 

Coming off of a dominant election week, CNN averaged the most adults 25-54 on cable news during the post-election week (Nov. 9), both in prime time (675,000) and in total day (446,000). CNN was also the most-watched cable news network in total day for the second consecutive week (1.63 million), edging Fox News (1.61 million) and MSNBC (1.5 million).

CNN continues to benefit from an intense post-election breaking news cycle. The network saw viewership drop off from its record-setting election week (as expected), but its  year-over-year trend remained strong (+133% in prime time viewers), as did its performance relative to the post-election week in 2016. (+156% in prime time viewers).

With the election now over, Fox News regained its title as “most-watched cable network in prime time.” The network glided past CNN in prime time (but not total day), as the trio of Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham continue to rack up huge audiences.


Carlson delivered the most-watched program in cable news last week, averaging 4.4 million viewers, while Hannity was No. 1 in the 25-54 demo with 860,000 viewers.

Fox News (like CNN and MSNBC) were predictably down in audience from election week. Relative to the same week in 2019 , (which featured the House Impeachment hearings), Fox News was +29% in total prime time viewers. However, the network was -5% in total day viewers. Compared to the post-election week of 2016, FNC was +18% in total prime time viewers, but -11% in total day viewers.

MSNBC finished in third place, both on cable news and across basic cable, but it posted by far the most significant amount of viewership growth from post-election week 2016 out of cable news’ big three. MSNBC was +111% in total prime time viewers and +162% in total day viewership vs. election week 2016, which was a week when the network ranked No. 10 in total prime time viewers and No. 14 in total day viewers. NBC’s politics-focused cable newser also posted +11% growth in total prime time viewers and +15% growth in total day viewers vs. the comparable week in 2019.

ESPN and Hallmark Channel came in 4th and 5th place respectively this past week; ESPN was No. 4 in prime time, while Hallmark No. 4 in total day.

Week of Nov. 9 (Nielsen Live+SD)

• Total Viewers: 3,643,000 2,380,000 2,218,000
• A25-54: 649,000 675,000 367,000




• Total Viewers: 1,629,000 1,605,000 1,494,000
• A25-54: 446,000 298,000 248,000




Here’s the full Nielsen cable network ranker, sorted by total viewers in prime time and total day:

Basic cable ranker: Week of Nov. 9 (Total Viewers)