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Week of Oct. 25 Cable Network Ranker: Fox News Finishes No. 1 in Total Day Viewers for 37th Straight Week; ESPN Is No. 1 in Primetime

By A.J. Katz 

Fox News Channel continues to attract tons of viewers across the 24-hour day. According to live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen, the network averaged roughly 1.43 million total viewers in total day, making it the most-watched basic cable network in the Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-6 a.m. time period for the 37th consecutive week.  The network also averaged 223,000 adults 25-54 in total day, No. 2 on basic cable behind ESPN. Relative to the previous week (Oct. 18), Fox News gained +1% in average total viewers but shed -2% of its viewers from the demo in total day.

In primetime, Fox News averaged 2.25 million total viewers (No. 2 on basic cable) and 312,000 adults 25-54 (also No. 2 on basic cable) last week. Only ESPN finished ahead of Fox News in primetime, averaging 2.26 million total viewers and a whopping 975,000 adults 25-54. Fox News’ trend in primetime wasn’t as positive as its week-to-week trend in total day. The network shed -4% in average total viewers and -10% among adults 25-54 from what the network averaged in those two measurements the prior week. However, that trend will certainly be reversed next week due to massive 2021 Election Night ratings.

Additionally, Fox News averaged more viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined for the 11th straight week.


On the programming front, The Five was the No. 1 cable news show in total viewers for the week (3.26 million viewers/433,000 adults 25-54), while Tucker Carlson Tonight finished No. 1 among adults 25-54 (453,000). TCT finished No. 2 in total viewers (3.07 million), followed by Hannity, (2.71 million total viewers/384,000 adults 25-54), Special Report with Bret Baier (2.42 million) and The Ingraham Angle ( 2.15 million) rounding out the top 5 in average total viewers. Fox News had 13 of the 15-most-watched shows on cable news for the third consecutive week, including the top six. MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show finished No. 7 on cable news in average total viewers (2.08 million), and was once again the top non-Fox News show on cable news for the week.

The aforementioned MSNBC averaged 1.15 million total primetime viewers (No. 4 on basic cable), and 140,000 adults 25-54 in prime time (No. 24 on basic cable) this past week. That’s -5% in total viewers but actually +5% in the key A25-54 demo from what the network drew in primetime the previous week.

Separately, MSNBC averaged 674,000 total viewers in the 6 a.m.-6 a.m. total day daypart (No. 4 overall), but only 77,000 adults 25-54 (No. 29 overall) in the time period this past week. That’s -3% in total viewers and -1% in the A25-54 demo. MSNBC beat CNN in average total viewers, as well as in the primetime demo. It did, however, fall short of CNN in the total day demo.

CNN averaged just 600,000 total viewers in prime time (No. 13 on basic cable) and 464,000 in total day (No. 6 on basic cable) during the week of Oct. 25. When it came to adults 25-54, the network averaged 123,000 viewers in primetime (No. 29 ) and 97,000 in total day (No. 18 on basic cable). The 97,000 average represents the network’s smallest A25-54 delivery in the time period since 2014.

Compared to the prior week, CNN fell -18% in average total primetime viewers, and -17% in the primetime demo. The network lost -10% in total day viewers and -9% in the total day demo. It’s not all doom and gloom, however, as that poor trend will most certainly be reversed next week due to Election Night 2021 viewership.

Finally, CNN managed to average more adults 25-54 than MSNBC in total day, but failed to match its main rival in primetime. CNN also averaged fewer total viewers than MSNBC in all dayparts.

Week of Oct. 25, 2021 cable news ratings, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen live-same-day data):

• Total Viewers: 1,430,000 674,000 464,000
• A25-54: 223,000 77,000 97,000




• Total Viewers: 2,249,000 1,150,000 600,000
• A25-54: 312,000 140,000 123,000




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

Week of Oct. 25 Ranker (Total Viewers)

Here’s a second cable network ranker, sorted by most to fewest adults 25-54. The left column is primetime, the right is total day.

Week of Oct. 25 Ranker (Adults 25-54)