Week of Oct. 5 Cable Ranker: Fox News Delivers Its 3rd-Highest-Rated Week of 2020 in Prime Time

By A.J. Katz 

Fox News didn’t quite match its audience delivery for the week of Sept. 28, which just so happened to be the network’s most-watched week since the Iraq War. However, it remained the most-watched network on cable TV for the week of Oct. 5, and posted its third-largest prime-time audience of 2020.

According to Nielsen-live-plus-same-day data, FNC averaged 4.56 million total viewers and 869,000 adults 25-54 in the prime-time daypart this past week. These huge numbers were driven by the network’s record-setting and top-rated vice presidential debate coverage, which drew 11.9 million viewers and 3.1 million adults 25-54 on Oct. 7.

In sum, back-to-back great weeks for Fox News in prime time.


FNC also managed to run its streak to 40 straight weeks as the most-watched network in total day, delivering 2.1 million viewers and 383,000 in the 25-54 demographic.

Tucker Carlson Tonight was the top cable news show of the week, averaging 5.1 million viewers and 935,000 A25-54 viewers. Hannity finished No. 2, posting 4.7 million viewers and 889,000 from the demo.

Maria Bartiromo‘s interview with Trump on Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures delivered 2.4 million viewers and 418,000 in the 25-54 demo, No. 1 on cable news Sunday.

FNC didn’t have a monopoly on cable news ratings wins, however. CNN averaged the most adults 25-54 on cable news in total day this past week (392,000). In addition, CNN averaged 1.5 million total viewers in that daypart, No. 3 on cable news.

In prime time, CNN averaged 2.65 million total viewers, No. 3 behind both Fox News and MSNBC. It also averaged 764,000 adults 25-54 in prime time, behind Fox News but far ahead of MSNBC.

CNN was the third-most-watched network across all of cable last week, both in total day and in prime time, behind Fox News and MSNBC in both dayparts.

Speaking of MSNBC, NBC’s politics-focused cable newser remains the second-most-watched network, not just on cable news, but across cable in its entirety. The network averaged 2.85 million total viewers in prime time, driven by a network-record audience delivery for a vp debate, as well as 1.55 million total viewers in total day.

MSNBC, which skews older than CNN (and now appears to be skewing older than Fox News) finished No. 3 across cable news among adults 25-54, both in total day and in prime time.


Nielsen live-plus-same-day numbers, prime time:

• Total Viewers: 4,559,000 2,846,000 2,649,000
• A25-54: 869,000 487,000 764,000




Nielsen live-plus-same-day numbers, total day:

• Total Viewers: 2,076,000 1,548,000 1,478,000
• A25-54: 383,000 250,000 392,000


The weekly basic cable rankings, sorted by average total audience:

Week of Oct. 5 Basic cable ranker (Total Viewers) by Adweek on Scribd