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Fox News has been on top of the cable TV lineup for quite a long time now, and its dominance doesn't seem to be fading any time soon. The cable news network had its most successful year yet in 2018, and that's saying something for a channel that has won the cable viewership game for 29 months in a row. Is there any stopping Fox News?
In 2018, Fox News Channel averaged 2.5 million viewers in primetime, which is a viewership number that other networks can only dream of hitting at all, let alone frequently enough for 2.5 million to be the average. As if that's not enough, Fox News also averaged a huge number of viewers in total day, which accounts for daytime and non-primetime viewers in addition to those who tune in during the key primetime hours of the night. The network averaged 1.4 million viewers in total day viewership in 2018.
This year marks Fox News' third consecutive year as the most watched network on basic cable, and it may not be unseated any time soon. The audience grew by 3% in primetime, although it did drop by 4% in total day. It did suffer some surprising losses in the news demographic, with a 2% drop in primetime and a 10% drop in total day. That said, Fox News is still well ahead of its closest competitors in the cable news game.
MSNBC comes in second in cable news, and Deadline reports that it averaged 1.8 million viewers on average in primetime, with that number dropping to 991,000 in total day. CNN comes in third, with 990,000 primetime on average and 704,000 in total day. Interestingly, of all three of the top cable news networks, CNN has the least difference between primetime average and total day. Given that it comes in third by a wide margin, however, I imagine that Fox News and MSNBC aren't sweating CNN's numbers too much.
It's not exactly shocking that Fox News remained on top. Donald Trump is a vocal fan of the network, and free press courtesy of the President of the United States obviously hasn't hurt. Sean Hannity, who recently interviewed first lady Melania Trump for Fox News for Hannity, remains on top as host of cable news' most-watched primetime show with an average of 3.28 million viewers. Rachel Maddow with The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC comes in second with an average of 2.88 million.
The rest of the top 5 most-viewed cable news shows are Fox News. It is not actually a news network that holds the #2 spot between Fox News and MSNBC. ESPN averages second in the top 20 cable networks of 2018 in total viewership. Now that we're only weeks away from 2019, Fox News will soon have to start a new year and attempt to hold its place at the very top. If you're in the mood for some non-cable news fare in the not-too-distant future, check out our midseason TV premiere schedule for some ideas.