Week of Sept. 14 Cable Ranker: News and Sports Networks Continue to Dominate

By A.J. Katz 

The week of Sept. 14, 2020 featured strong ratings for the cable news networks, and another ratings win for Fox News Channel.

FNC was the most-watched network on cable (total viewers), extended its winning streak on basic cable to 37 straight weeks among total viewers in total day (1.9 million) and remained the most-watched basic cable network in prime time for the fourth consecutive week (3.8 million).

Fox News was the third-most-watched network on all of TV—broadcast and cable—in prime time last week, finishing behind NBC (led by Sunday Night Football) and ABC (led by the Emmys).

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, Tucker Carlson Tonight was the top-ranked cable news show last week, averaging 4.7 million viewers and 844,000 A25-54 viewers. Hannity was the second-highest-rated cable news show of the week, averaging 4.4 million viewers and 742,000 adults 25-54.

There seems to be a seesaw effect going on here, with Hannity finishing No. 1 one week and Tucker Carlson Tonight finishing No. 1 the next. This time, it was Carlson.

How did cable news “big three” perform relative to the prior the week?

For Fox News, the answer is “quite well.” FNC was +14% in total prime-time viewers, +5% in total day viewers, +18% in the prime-time demo (adults 25-54) and +6% in the demo in total day.

MSNBC finished No. 3 in total prime-time viewership across basic cable, behind Fox News and ESPN, which is slowly getting its college football back. NBC’s politics-focused cable network averaged 2.02 million viewers in prime time (-4% from the prior week) and 1.19 million viewers in total day (-2% versus the prior week). Interestingly, the news for MSNBC was better in the demo, +1% in the prime-time demo (adults 25-54) and +5% in the demo in total day.

CNN finished No. 4 across basic cable in total prime-time audience ( 1.55 million), a solid improvement from recent weeks. In fact, compared to the prior week, CNN was +17% in total prime-time viewers and +25% in the prime-time demo. The network was flat in total day viewers, but +4% in the total day demo.

Compared with the same week one year ago, Fox, MSNBC and CNN continue to trend well. Fox News was +55% in total prime-time viewers, +35% in total day viewers, +84% in the prime-time demo and +41% in the demo during total day.

Compared to the year-ago week, MSNBC was +31% in total prime-time viewers, +36% in total day viewers, +43% in the prime-time demo and +50% in the demo during total day this past week.

CNN, which always sees significant viewership growth in election years, was +100% in total prime-time viewers, +66% in total day viewers, +95% in the prime-time demo and +66% in the total day demo versus the year-ago week.

CNN beat MSNBC in the adults 25-54 demo during prime time and total day.

Among adults 25-54, Fox finished No. 3 in prime time, CNN No. 7 in prime time and MSNBC No. 11 in prime time. Fox finished No. 2 in total day among adults 25-54, CNN No. 4 and MSNBC No. 9.

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

FNC MSNBC CNN
• Total Viewers: 3,803,000 2,024,000 1,548,000
• A25-54: 650,000 311,000 363,000

 

 

 

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

FNC MSNBC CNN
• Total Viewers: 1,854,000 1,193,000 917,000
• A25-54: 319,000 177,000 211,000

 

 

 

Week of Sept. 14 2020 Cable Ranker (Total Viewers)

Next, the cable networks ranked by adults 25-54:

Week of Sept. 14 cable ranker (Adults 25-54)

Advertisement
Advertisement