Cable TV offers such a wide variety of shows that it can be difficult for the casual viewer to decide on what to watch, but there's one network that never falls short on attracting an audience, and you may not be too surprised about which network that is. For the third year in a row, Fox News is on top of the ratings for cable TV, continuing a very long streak.
Yes, Fox News has won the cable ratings for 29 months in a row, and no, that's not a typo. For more than two years, Fox News has been on top of the ratings in every consecutive month in viewership. Fox News currently averages 1.5 million viewers in total day.
Now, if 1.5 million viewers doesn't sound like all that many for Fox News to be winning the cable game, bear in mind that 1.5 million is the Fox News average, meaning that it takes the network's full daily numbers into account when calculating the final number. In primetime, Fox News actually averages 2.44 million viewers, which boosts its daily average viewership.
Its closest competitors in primetime are well behind as well. Compared to Fox News' 2.44 million, MSNBC pulls in a primetime average of 1.84 million and CNN draws an average 1.12 million. In total day viewership, MSNBC only averages 1.024 million and CNN only averages 761,000. In the 25-54 age demographic that is generally more important for news networks than for entertainment networks where 18-49 is key, Fox News wins 478,000 viewers on average, which is ahead of CNN with 374,000 and MSNBC with 332,000.
Despite holding the top spot in cable ratings for the third year in a row, Fox News hasn't experienced steady upward growth. The network did experience a 3% rise in total viewers, but it dropped 2% in the demographic. MSNBC also experienced a rise in viewership yet a drop in demo, according to Deadline. CNN is the only one of the big three cable news networks to grow in both viewership and demographic, with a 10% rise in viewership and a 1% rise in the demo.
For folks who paid attention to the cable ratings from last year, the biggest program winner won't come as a huge surprise, especially considering Fox News wasn't dethroned as the most-watched cable network. Sean Hannity's Hannity is likely to rank as the top show in cable news for 2018, barring a massive shift in ratings come December. Hannity averages 3.026 million viewers overall and 571,000 in the key news demo.
Maddow on MSNBC isn't actually that terribly far behind with 2.90 million total and 525,000 in the demo, but Hannity looks to remain the big winner heading into 2019. It seems that the controversy surrounding Fox News, including a protest that forced a change in location as well as the departure of an anchor, did not impact how many people generally tune in to get their news from that particular outlet. It should be interesting to see how much Fox News' numbers may change with its streaming service.
Cable news is the place to be if you're in the market for 24/7 news coverage. If you ever need a break from the news or that's not your style, swing by our fall TV premiere schedule and our midseason TV premiere guide for some ideas of what to watch in the not-too-distant future.
Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.
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