Weekly Basic Cable Ranker: Fox News Is the Most-Watched For 34 Straight Weeks, While Weather Channel Dominates Weekend in the Demo

By A.J. Katz Comment

Fox News was the most-watched basic cable network for pre-Labor Day week of Aug. 26. That’s now 34 consecutive weeks FNC has been No. 1 across the 24-hour time period (6 a.m. – 6 a.m.)

Hannity’s Wednesday, Aug. 28th 9 p.m. telecast was the most-watched basic cable telecast of the week (3.36 million viewers). First-run telecasts of Hannity, Tucker Carlson Tonight, The Ingraham Angle and The Five garnered 19 of the top 30 cable telecasts in total viewers. Additionally, Hannity and TCT delivered eight of the top 10 cable telecasts in total viewers for the week.

Fox News and MSNBC split honors in the 11 p.m. hour. Fox News @ Night with Shannon Bream was the No. 1 cable news show among adults 25-54, while The 11th Hour with Brian Williams was No. 1 in total viewers. The latter is especially notable considering Steve Kornacki filled in for Williams.

Speaking of MSNBC – NBCU’s politics-focused cable network remained the second-most-watched basic cable network. MSNBC also beat rival CNN in the A25-54 demo during prime time. However, the network fell short to the aforementioned CNN in the demo across the 24-hour time period. Additionally, the network continues to lose viewers from its impressive 2018. Perhaps they’ll return as we approach 2020.

CNN was the 10th-most-watched basic cable network in prime time, and the sixth-most-watched basic cable network in total day. It also beat the cable news competition in prime time this past weekend, a weekend that was chock full of breaking news (Texas mass shooting and Hurricane Dorian).

When compared with the same week in 2018, Fox News was +3% in total prime time viewers. However, MSNBC was -15% in total prime time viewers, while CNN was -16% in the same daypart. In total day, Fox was +6%, but MSNBC was -24% and CNN was -21%.

As is traditionally the case during extreme weather events, The Weather Channel had a strong week on the ratings front, particular in the latter stages of the week. It was by far the No. 1 cable news network among adults 25-54 on Saturday, Aug. 31, averaging 260,000 demo viewers in prime time. CNN averaged 203,000 and Fox News 196,000.

On Sunday, Sept. 1, when Dorian continued to wreak havoc on the Bahamas, TWC averaged 593,000 demo viewers in prime time. CNN averaged 203,000 and Fox News averaged 196,000 demo viewers during the daypart.

For the week of Aug. 26, The Weather Channel averaged 675,000 total viewers during prime time (No. 16 across basic cable), and 569,000  total viewers across the 24-hour total day (No. 8 overall).

Cable News Week of Aug. 26 (Total Viewers)
Fox News: Prime Time (2,342,000) and Total Day (1,322,000)
MSNBC: Prime Time (1,568,000) and Total Day (854,000)
CNN: Prime Time (897,000) and Total Day (624,000)
TWC: Prime Time (675,000) and Total Day (569,000)

Cable News Week of Aug. 26 (Adults 25-54)
Fox News: Prime Time (326,000) and Total Day (207,000)
MSNBC: Prime Time (221,000) and Total Day (117,000)
CNN: Prime Time (212,000) and Total Day (137,000)

Source: Nielsen live-plus-same-day data. 8/26/2019 – 09/01/2019. M-Su 8p-11p / M-Su 6a-6a

Basic cable ranker: Week of Aug. 26 (Total Viewers)

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