This is the basic cable ranker and programming report for the week of September 25, 2023.
With Nielsen live plus same day data for the week of Sept. 25, 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.
Benefiting from its primetime simulcast of the Fox Business-Univision Republican presidential primary debate on Wednesday, Sept. 27, Fox News averaged 2.18 million viewers and 274,000 Adults 25-54 in primetime this past week, +25% and +47% respectively, from what the network averaged the previous, debate-less week (the week of Sept. 18). As one might have guessed, Fox’s 2.18 million total primetime viewer average puts it at No. 1 on all of basic cable, and the 274,000 A25-54 primetime viewer average is No. 2 on all of basic cable, only behind ESPN.
Additionally, FNC averaged 1.2 million total viewers and 148,000 A25-54 viewers in total day, +10% and +12%, respectively, from the week prior. The 1.2 million total viewer average is No. 1 on all of basic cable, while the 148,000 A25-54 average in total day is No. 2 on all of basic cable; same as primetime.
CNN and MSNBC also saw ratings growth from the previous week (though not to the same degree as Fox News).
MSNBC averaged 1.52 million viewers and 138,000 Adults 25-54 in primetime, +22% and +23% respectively, from what the network averaged the previous week. The network’s Monday primetime ratings received a boost from Rachel Maddow’s sit-down with former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson.
The network’s 1.52 million total primetime viewer average for the week is No. 3 on all of basic cable (behind Fox News and ESPN), and its 138,000 A25-54 primetime viewer average is No. 11 on all of basic cable.
In total day, MSNBC averaged 943,000 total viewers and just 95,000 A25-54 viewers, +18% and +13%, respectively, from the week prior. The 943,000 total viewer average is No. 2 on all of basic cable, while the 95,000 A25-54 average is No. 5 on all of basic cable.
CNN averaged 574,000 total viewers and 113,000 Adults 25-54 in primetime for the week of Sept. 25, +12% and +16% respectively, from what the network averaged the previous week (Sept. 18). The 574,000 total primetime viewer average is No. 8 on all of basic cable, and the 113,000 A25-54 primetime viewer average for the week is No. 16 on all of basic cable.
In total day, CNN averaged 477,000 total viewers and only 87,000 A25-54 viewers, +14% and +16%, respectively, from the week prior. The 477,000 total viewer average is No. 4 on all of basic cable, while the 87,000 A25-54 average is No. 8 on all of basic cable (tied with TV Land).
And with Warner Bros. Discovery’s recent decision to add CNN’s top shows to the CNN Max hub, one shouldn’t be shocked if the network’s daily Nielsen ratings continue to shrink on those lighter news days going forward.
How did Fox News, MSNBC and CNN fare relative to the year-ago week, one which featured live and breaking news concerning Hurricane Ian? Well, Fox News posted year-over-year gain of +1% in total primetime viewers but an -8% drop off in the primetime demo. The network is still trending in the wrong direction when it comes to total day viewing, shedding -20% in total day viewers and -32% in the total day demo. MSNBC gained +28% in total primetime viewers, +21% in the primetime demo, +21% in total day viewers and +17% in the total day demo from the same week in 2022. CNN, on the other hand, posed year-over-year losses across audience measurements. The network is -25% in total primetime viewers, -37% in the primetime demo, -29% in total day viewers and -38% in the total day demo versus the week of Sept. 26, 2022.
Week of September 25 cable news ratings, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen live-same-day data):
|• Total Viewers:||2,179,000||1,516,000||574,000|
|TOTAL DAY||Fox News||MSNBC||CNN|
|• Total Viewers:||1,199,000||943,000||477,000|
Below are the basic cable network rankers — sorted by average total viewers followed by Adults 25-54.
On Wednesday, the Republican Primary Debate co-hosted by Fox Business Network and Univision was the most-watched program in linear television, digital and streaming, averaging 9.5 viewers and nearly 2 million in A25-54 on Fox News, FBN and Univision. Out of the 9.5 million, nearly 6.7 million watched the simulcast on Fox News.
In terms of daily cable news programming, The Five remained in first place, averaging a cable news-high 2.73 million total viewers and 283,000 A25-54 viewers for the week of Sept. 25, 2023.
Fox News had the three most-watched daily cable news offerings for the week. Jesse Watters Primetime secured second place among all daily cable news shows with a 2. million total viewer average at 8 p.m. Hannity remained in third place with a 2. million total viewer average at 9 p.m., with MSNBC’s The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell (1.94 million at 10 p.m.), and Fox News 10 p.m. competitor Gutfeld! rounding out the top five with a 1.92 million total viewer average in the hour.
Six through 10 in total viewers: Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier (1.89 million at 6 p.m.), The Ingraham Angle (1.81 million at 7 p.m.), MSNBC’s Deadline: White House (1.7 million at 4-6 p.m.), The Beat with Ari Melber (1.69 million at 6 p.m.), with All In with Chris Hayes rounding out the top 10 with a 1.67 million total viewer average at 8 p.m. ET.
Fox News boasts each of the top 8 cable news shows and 9 of the top 10 of the week among Adults 25-54. The Five leads the way with a 283,000 average, as previously mentioned. Hannity moves up to No. 2 with a 270,000 A25-54 viewer average at 9 p.m., followed by Gutfeld! (268,000), Jesse Watters Primetime (218,000), Special Report (191,000), The Ingraham Angle (188,000), Fox News @ Night (187,000 at 11 p.m.), and The Faulkner Focus (172,000 at 11 a.m.). MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes (169,000) and Fox News’ Outnumbered (169,000 at 12 p.m.) round out the top 10.
Week of Sept. 25, 2023: