Third quarter ratings are in and Fox News was the top cable network in total average viewers through the day and primetime.
Among the news networks, Fox News beat CNN and MSNBC combined in total day and primetime for the quarter to earn its highest-rated quarter of the year, just ahead of the network’s 25th anniversary. Fox News was even the only cable news network to grow compared to last quarter.
Here’s how it broke down: In total-day averages, Fox News netted 1.358 million, with 227,000 in the advertiser-coveted age demographic of 25 to 54. CNN averaged 598,000 total viewers, of whom 130,000 were in the demo. MSNBC saw an average of 738,000 total viewers with 94,000 viewers in the demo. This was the ninth straight quarter that CNN beat MSNBC in total-day demo ratings.
In primetime, Fox News netted an average of 2.372 million viewers, of whom 377,000 were in the demo. For CNN, those averages were 822,000 and 188,000. MSNBC garnered 1.267 million total average primetime viewers, of whom 161,000 were in the demo. This was the seventh quarter in a row that CNN beat MSNBC in primetime demo ratings, too.
The top five programs in cable news in total average viewers were Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” “The Five,” “Hannity” and “The Ingraham Angle,” along with MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.” In the demo, the top five shows were all Fox News': “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” “Hannity,” “The Five,” “The Ingraham Angle” and “Special Report with Bret Baier.”
All three major cable news networks did experience declines when compared to last year’s third quarter, which was dominated by the news of the global pandemic and the run-up to the presidential election.
Notably, CNN’s “New Day” beat MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” in the demo during the third quarter, and its “Early Start” beat MSNBC’s early-morning show in the demo as well.