Weekly Cable Ratings Ranker: Fox News Televised Entirety of President Trump’s Re-election Campaign Event, and It Paid Off in the Ratings

By A.J. Katz 

The numbers are in, and Fox News marked 24 consecutive weeks as the most-watched basic cable network across total day, per Nielsen live-plus-same-day data.

For the week of June 17th, FNC averaged 1.3 million total viewers and delivered 224,000 in the 25-54 demo across the 6 a.m. – 6 a.m. daypart, and averaged 2.6 million total viewers in the prime time daypart.

Fox News defeated MSNBC and CNN by a significant margin this past week, highlighted by its coverage of President Trump’s prime time rally/re-election campaign event in Florida last Tuesday. FNC televised the entirety of event from 8:15 – 9:30 p.m. ET, and that move gave FNC its third-most-watched night of the year both in total viewers (4.23 million) and A25-54 viewers (800k).

Fox News averaged more total viewers in the 9 p.m. hour than NBC (Songland) and more A25-54 viewers than ABC (Beat the Connors).

MSNBC did not televise the Trump campaign event, and CNN dipped out after about six minutes.

In addition to the Tuesday’s programming, FNC prime time programs made up the top 7 cable telecasts of the week in total viewers.

FNC’s Fox News @ Night anchored by Shannon Bream marked its 13th consecutive weekly win in the 25-54 demo over MSNBC’s The 11th Hour with Brian Williams (267,000 to 189,000). Bream’s show also finished No. 1 in the hour in total viewers. Williams had been winning the hour in that measurement.

MSNBC and CNN, on the other hand, were down significantly across the board from the same week in 2018.

Perhaps surprisingly, MSNBC’s exclusive live coverage of the South Carolina Democratic Party Convention on Saturday from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. ET struggled relative to Saturdays of the recent past. The party’s decision to grant the MSNBC exclusivity to live coverage of the event ignited controversy in the TV news world. C-SPAN, in particular, wasn’t happy about the SCDP’s move.

Despite audience losses, MSNBC was still the second-most-watched network on basic cable last week.

CNN finished No. 13 in total prime time audience, but earned a spot in the top 10 when measuring total viewers across 6 a.m. – 6 a.m. (No. 6).

Versus the comparable week in 2018, Fox News was +2% in total prime time viewers, MSNBC was -15% in total prime time viewers, and CNN was -7%. In total day, Fox was -9%, MSNBC was -12% and CNN was -13%.

Cable News Week of June 17 (Total Viewers)
Fox News: Prime Time (2,566,000) and Total Day (1,337,000)
MSNBC: Prime Time (1,519,000) and Total Day (842,000)
CNN: Prime Time (853,000) and Total Day (548,000)

Cable News Week of June 17 (Adults 25-54)
Fox News: Prime Time (406,000) and Total Day (224,000)
MSNBC: Prime Time (198,000) and Total Day (115,000)
CNN: Prime Time (185,000) and Total Day (125,000)

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, here are the 10 most-watched basic cable networks for the week in total day and prime time:


  1. Fox News Channel (2,566,000
  2. MSNBC (1,519,000)
  3. ESPN (1,301,000)
  4. HGTV (1,249,000)
  5. A&E (1,184,000)
  6. USA (1,078,000)
  7. History (1,012,000)
  8. Hallmark (916,000)
  9. TLC (915,000)
  10. Investigation Discovery (889,000)


  1. Fox News (1,337,000)
  2. MSNBC (842,000)
  3. HGTV (698,000)
  4. ID (691,000)
  5. Nickelodeon (662,000)
  6. A&E (570,000)
  7. ESPN (553,000)
  8. History (551,000)
  9. CNN (548,000)
  10. Food Network (535,000)

Basic cable ranker: Week of June 17 (Total Viewers)