Week of Sept. 5 Basic Cable Ranker: Fox News Remains Most-Watched in Total Day

By A.J. Katz 

Fox News marked 36 consecutive weeks as the most-watched network on all of basic cable (not just cable news) in the 24-hour daypart—and 82 consecutive weeks as the most-watched cable news network with its Nielsen ratings performance during the week of Sept. 5, which started on the Labor Day holiday.

According to live plus same day data from Nielsen, in total day (6 a.m.-6 a.m.), Fox News averaged 1.39 million total day viewers, down -2% from the prior week (Aug. 29, 2022), and 204,000 adults 25-54, down -1% from the prior week.

Fox News remained No. 2 in primetime cable behind ESPN, which continues to grab large audiences with its college football coverage. Expect to see another top ranking for The Worldwide Leader in Sports this coming week now that Monday Night Football is back in primetime.


FNC averaged 2.02 million total viewers in primetime this past week, -6% from the prior week. In the adults 25-54 demo, the network ranked No. 3 on basic cable in primetime, behind ESPN (967,000) and ESPN2 (283,000) averaging 271,000 viewers from the measurement, which is -5% from the week prior.

Still, those numbers far exceed those of Fox’s main cable news rivals. FNC averaged more total viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined this past week.

Speaking of MSNBC, the NBC News politics-focused outlet finished the week of Aug. 29 as the third-most-watched network on basic cable, averaging 721,000 in total day and 1.02 1.02 million total viewers in primetime. The 1.02 million viewer average in prime is -27% from the prior week, while the 721,000 is -14% with what the network averaged in total day the prior week.

MSNBC, per usual, beat CNN in total viewers, but not the key A25-54 demo. The network averaged 100,000 adults 25-54 in primetime, ranking No. 3 on cable news, No. on basic cable—and -26% from the prior week. MSNBC only averaged 77,000 adults 25-54 in total day, which is -13% with the prior week, placing it at No.  on all of basic cable.

CNN, on the other hand, saw week-to-week ratings growth in most measurements and dayparts. The viewership growth in daytime/non-primetime hours is likely driven by the network’s breaking news coverage of Queen Elizabeth II‘s passing. The network averaged 696,000 total viewers in primetime during the week of Sept. 5, +7% from the week prior—No. 3 in cable news and No. 9 on all of basic cable.

In addition, the network averaged 136,000 A25-54 viewers in primetime, -1% from the week prior—No. 2 in cable news and No. 19 on all of basic cable. CNN shot up the ranks in total day, finishing No. 4 on basic cable in total day viewers (605,000/+14% week-to-week) and No. 7 on basic cable in the total day demo (122,000/+23% week-to-week).

Relative to the week of Sept. 6, 2021 (the year-ago week), in primetime, Fox News is -11% in total viewers and -25% in the A25-54 demo. In total day viewing, the network is up +1% in total viewers but -10% in the key demo, year-over-year. CNN—which historically sees the most ratings fluctuation based on the news cycle—is down -3% in total primetime viewers and -20% in the primetime demo, but up +14% in total day viewers and +4% in the total day demo from that week in 2021. MSNBC shed -7% in total primetime viewers, gained +11% in total day viewers, shed -1% in total day demo, and continues to have issues attracting the primetime demo—shedding -28% from the measurement year-over-year.

Week of September 5 cable news ratings, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen live-same-day data):

• Total Viewers: 2,017,000 1,022,000 696,000
• A25-54: 271,000 100,000 136,000




• Total Viewers: 1,390,000 721,000 605,000
• A25-54: 204,000 77,000 122,000




In terms of individual programming, The Five was the most-watched cable news show for the third consecutive week. The news talk panel program averaged 3.24 million total viewers during the week of Sept. 5, down from the prior week. Tucker Carlson Tonight took second place in total viewers (3.05 million at 8 p.m.), Jesse Watters Primetime (2.705 million at 7 p.m.), Hannity (2.52 million at 9 p.m.) and Special Report with Bret Baier (2.36 million viewers at 6 p.m.) round out the top five.

Tucker Carlson Tonight (468,000), The Five (427,000), Jesse Watters Primetime (363,000), Gutfeld! (345,000) and Special Report (328,000) were the top five cable news offerings for the week among adults 25-54. Fox had the 11 most-watched cable news shows of the week—and top 13 among adults 25-54 (CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper ranks No. 14).

Fox News also posted 82 of the 100 most-watched cable news telecasts for the week.

Below are the basic cable network rankers for this past week:

Week of Sept. 5 Ranker (Total Viewers) 

Week of Sept. 5 Ranker (Adults 25-54) by alexanderkatz5 on Scribd