Fox News was the second-most-watched network on all of TV—broadcast and cable—during prime=time hours this past week, averaging 3.34 million total viewers. NBC, led by its top-rated Sunday Night Football franchise, finished No. 1. Fox News extended its winning streak on basic cable to 36 straight weeks among total viewers in total day, and remained the most-watched basic cable network in prime time for the third consecutive week, after finishing behind MSNBC three weeks earlier during 2020 DNC week.
According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, Hannity was the top-ranked cable news show last week, averaging 4.5 million viewers and 782,000 A25-54 viewers. Tucker Carlson Tonight was the second-highest-rated cable news show of the week, averaging 4.3 million viewers and 772,000 adults 25-54.
How did cable news “big three” perform relative to the prior the week? Fox News was -6% in total prime-time viewers, -3% in total day viewers, -8% in the prime-time demo (adults 25-54) and -4% in the the demo in total day.
MSNBC finished No. 3 in total prime-time viewership across basic cable, behind Fox News and TNT, the latter of which is performing especially well right now thanks to its NBA Playoffs coverage. NBC’s politics-focused cable network averaged 2.11 million viewers (-3% from the prior week) and 1.22 million day viewers (-1% versus the prior week). The network was also -8 % in the prime-time demo (adults 25-54) and -9% in the demo in total day.
CNN remained No. 6 across basic cable in total prime-time audience ( 1.32 million). Compared to the prior week, CNN was -12% in total prime-time viewers, but only -2% in total day viewers, -2% in the prime-time demo and -7% in the demo in total day.
The week-to-week losses for these three aren’t a huge surprise. Monday was Labor Day, a time when cable news fanatics tend to watch less news programming than usual.
While the cable newsers predictably fell from the prior week, compared with the same week one year ago (which did not include the Labor Day holiday), Fox, MSNBC and CNN continued to trend well.
Fox News was +43% in total prime-time viewers, +34% in total day viewers, +76% in the prime-time demo and 46% in the demo during total day.
Compared to the year-ago week, MSNBC was +44% in total prime-time viewers, +40% in total day viewers, +47% in the prime-time demo and +43% in the demo during total day.
Despite finishing third, CNN, which always sees significant viewership growth in election years, was +77% in total prime-time viewers, +69% in total day viewers, +65% in the prime-time demo and +71% in the total day demo versus the year-ago week. CNN did come up short to MSNBC in both total prime-time viewers and the prime-time demo for the second consecutive week.
Nielsen live-plus-same-day numbers, prime time:
|• Total Viewers:||3,339,000||2,114,000||1,320,000|
Nielsen live-plus-same-day numbers, total day:
|• Total Viewers:||1,769,000||1,217,000||916,000|