The week of October 9, 2023, the first full week of the Israel-Hamas war and corresponding wall-to-wall TV news coverage, saw Fox News expand its already-commanding ratings lead over the competition, and CNN continue to show notable growth, particularly in the key Adults 25-54 demo.
MSNBC, which continues to average more total viewers than CNN, failed to gain viewers.
Below, the basic cable ranker and cable news programming report for the week of October 9, 2023.
With Nielsen live plus same day data for the week of Oct. 9, 2023 officially in, Fox News Channel remained in its usual position as the top-rated cable news network in total viewers and among Adults 25-54.
Fox News ranked No. 1 on all of basic cable in total primetime viewers (this time ahead of ESPN), with a 2.245 million total viewer average, and No. 3 in the primetime demo (behind football-carrying ESPN and MLB playoffs-carrying TBS) with a 286,000 A25-54 average. That’s +10% and +24%, respectively, from what the network averaged the previous week (Oct. 2, 2023) in those key measurements.
In total day viewing, FNC averaged 1.59 million total viewers and 220,000 A25-54 viewers, +22% and +42%, respectively, from the week prior. The 1.59 million total viewer average is No. 1 on all of basic cable, while the 220,000 A25-54 average in total day is No. 3 on all of basic cable.
Turning to MSNBC, the NBCU-owned politics-focused cable newser isn’t riding the Israel-Hamas war coverage wave like its news outlet competitors are. The network averaged 1.10 million viewers and 122,000 Adults 25-54 in primetime, -26% and -20% respectively, from what the network averaged the previous week. The network’s 1.10 million total primetime viewer average for the week is down to No. 4 on all of basic cable (behind Fox News, ESPN and TBS), and its 122,000 A25-54 primetime viewer average is No. 18 on all of basic cable.
In total day, MSNBC averaged 776,000 total viewers and just 94,000 A25-54 viewers, -21% and -10%, respectively, from the week prior. The 776,000 total day viewer average places MSNBC at No. 3 on basic cable (behind FNC and ESPN) while the 94,000 A25-54 average is No. 7 on all of basic cable.
Like Fox News, CNN continues to benefit, ratings-wise, from its live, on-the-ground coverage of the war. The network averaged 810,000 total viewers and 196,000 Adults 25-54 in primetime this past week, growth of +4% and +26% respectively, from what the network averaged the previous week (Oct. 2). The 810,000 total primetime viewer average is No. 6 on all of basic cable, and the 196,000 A25-54 primetime viewer average for the week is also No. 6 on all of basic cable.
In total day, CNN averaged 688,000 total viewers (the smallest gap with MSNBC in months) and 151,000 A25-54 viewers, +13% and +28%, respectively, from the week prior. The 688,000 total viewer average is No. 4 on all of basic cable, while the 151,000 A25-54 average is No. 4 on all of basic cable.
So, how does Fox News, MSNBC and CNN fare relative to the year-ago week? After a lengthy stretch of year-over-year losses, Fox News posted viewership gains driven by its highly-rated coverage of the war’s onset. The network is +3% in total primetime viewers, +4% in the primetime demo, +12% in total day viewers and +13% in the total day demo vs. the week of Oct. 10, 2022.
CNN improves while MSNBC loses viewers from the same week in 2022. CNN is +25% in total primetime viewers, +41% in the primetime demo, +23% in total day viewers and +41% in the total day demo versus the year-ago week. MSNBC, on the other hand, is -16% in total primetime viewers, -8% in the primetime demo, -8% in total day viewers but gained +2% in the total day demo versus the year-ago week, which featured a highly-rated Jan. 6 insurrection congressional hearing.
Lastly, according to Nielsen Media Research, upstart cable news network NewsNation delivered its highest-rated week ever in total day, Monday through Friday. Driven by Israel-Hamas breaking news coverage, the channel was +16% in total day viewers and +22% in the key 25-54 demographic from the prior week.
Week of Oct. 9 cable news ratings, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen live-same-day data):
|• Total Viewers:||2,245,000||1,101,000||810,000|
|TOTAL DAY||Fox News||MSNBC||CNN|
|• Total Viewers:||1,586,000||776,000||688,000|
Below are the basic cable network rankers — sorted by average total viewers followed by Adults 25-54.
In terms of daily cable news programming, The Five remained No. 1 in total viewers, averaging 3.34 million total viewers at 5 p.m., and improved to No. 1 among Adults 25-54 (375,000 viewers).
Fox News had the 11 most-watched daily cable news offerings for the week of Oct. 9. Jesse Watters Primetime secured second place among all daily cable news shows with a 2.83 million total viewer average at 8 p.m. Special Report with Bret Baier moved up to No. 3 (2.54 million at 6 p.m.), with Hannity (2.52 million at 9 and 10 p.m.), and The Ingraham Angle averaging 2.44 million at 7 p.m.
Gutfeld! did not air this past week, and Hannity received a second hour (10 p.m.).
MSNBC’s The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell is the most-watched non-Fox News cable news show of the week, coming in at No. 12 with a 1.42 million viewer average at 10 p.m.
Fox News boasts each of the top 10 cable news shows of the among Adults 25-54. After The Five, follows Hannity with a 353,000 average at 9 and 10 p.m. Then, there’s Jesse Watters Primetime (317,000), America Reports with Sandra Smith and John Roberts (306,000 from 2-4 p.m.), Outnumbered (291,000 at 12 p.m.).
Anderson Cooper 360 is the top-rated non-Fox News cable news show in the demo. It finished No. 11 with an average of 350,000 A25-54 averaging 250,000