All 124 Cable Channels Ranked by Average Viewership in 2021

Finally, mercifully, Comedy.TV is not dead last

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Another year, another Fox News Channel viewer victory (on cable). Fox News was the most-watched basic-cable channel (of 124) in 2021, averaging 2.361 million primetime viewers each evening, according to Nielsen’s Live + Same Day data set. That number was down a whopping 35% from the 2020 average, but that’s what happens when you turn the calendar page over from an election year. Just ask the other guys: MSNBC, this year’s No. 3 channel, declined 28% and No. 4 CNN sank 39%.

ESPN (1.658 million, up 14%) welcomed live sports back in 2021, jumping from last year’s fourth-place cable channel in primetime to No. 2 this time around. The Top 4 channels are again cable’s main news and sports channels, the genres that live viewing favors.

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Tony Maglio

TV Editor • • Twitter: @tonymaglio