109 Cable Channels Ranked by 2018 Viewership, From Fox News to Comedy.TV

See where ESPN, HGTV, USA, TLC and every other conceivable set of initials rank

Last Updated: December 12, 2018 @ 2:13 PM

Somehow, mercifully, 2018 is almost over. Before we bid it goodbye and dive into a (hopefully) much better 2019, let’s look back at how the year treated our favorite cable channels.

For the third year in a row, Fox News Channel was the most-watched network on cable, according to Nielsen ratings. That claim holds true for both primetime (8 p.m. to 11 p.m.) and total day (6 a.m. to 6 a.m.). ESPN was again runner-up.

Thanks to midterm elections, Fox News rose about 2.5 percent year over year. ESPN declined.

MSNBC, HGTV and USA Network rounded out the Top 5 primetime cable channels, according to Nielsen’s Live + Same Day data through Dec. 4. TBS, TNT, History, Hallmark and ID make it an even top 10. Something called Comedy.TV ranked dead last in the study, which encompassed 109 networks.

The below Nielsen rankers are in thousands, which means Fox News averaged 2.482 million primetime viewers. Comedy.TV averaged 1,000 total viewers for the same hours.

For this story we ignored delayed viewing, which skews hard against news and sports programming. The rankings would change if we included catch-up tuning — and not just among cable news and the ESPNs of the world. Using three days of delayed viewing, USA would leapfrog HGTV, extending the NBCUniversal cable channel’s entertainment-only win-streak to 13 years.

M-Sunday 8P-11P
P2+
Rank Network AA (000)
1 FOX NEWS CHANNEL 2,482
2 ESPN 1,827
3 MSNBC 1,804
4 HOME AND GARDEN TV 1,331
5 USA NETWORK 1,297
6 TBS NETWORK 1,277
7 TURNER NETWORK TELEVISION 1,189
8 HISTORY 1,042
9 HALLMARK CHANNEL 1,028
10 INVESTIGATION DISCOVERY 1,007
11 CNN 989
12 DISCOVERY CHANNEL 952
13 A&E NETWORK 890
14 FOOD NETWORK 861
15 TLC 848
16 FX 749
17 AMC 745
18 ADULT SWIM 645
19 TV LAND 629
20 BRAVO 600
21 NICK-AT-NITE 586
22 LIFETIME TELEVISION 566
23 HALLMARK MOVIES & MYSTERIES 540
24 VH1 533
25 INSP 532
26 FREEFORM 517
27 SYFY 495
28 ANIMAL PLANET 466
29 MTV 455
30 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC 446
31 TRAVEL CHANNEL 442
32 NICK JR 426
33 GSN 418
33 NBC SPORTS NETWORK 418
35 PARAMOUNT 416
36 OPRAH WINFREY NETWORK 403
37 BLACK ENTERTAINMENT TV 396
38 WETV 389
39 COMEDY CENTRAL 371
40 FOX SPORTS 1 345
40 LIFETIME MOVIE NETWORK 345
42 E! 341
43 WGN AMERICA 334
44 OXYGEN MEDIA 326
45 ESPN2 321
46 FXX 306
47 TRUTV 288
48 SCIENCE 287
49 NFL NETWORK 284
50 HLN 279
51 CNBC 278
51 NAT GEO WILD 278
53 CMT 262
54 MOTOR TREND 244
55 DIY NETWORK 239
56 BBC-AMERICA 237
57 SUNDANCE TV 228
58 IFC TV 200
59 THE WEATHER CHANNEL 193
60 UNIVISION DEPORTES 170
61 NICKTOONS 163
62 DISNEY XD 155
63 REELZCHANNEL 153
64 POP 148
65 MLB NETWORK 147
66 GALAVISION 140
67 TV ONE 137
68 COOKING CHANNEL 132
69 FX MOVIE CHANNEL 130
70 AMERICAN HEROES CHANNEL 129
71 FYI 118
71 GOLF CHANNEL 118
73 TEENNICK 115
74 RFD-TV 109
75 DESTINATION AMERICA 105
76 BOOMERANG 103
77 SMITHSONIAN 102
78 FOX BUSINESS NETWORK 101
79 GREAT AMERICAN COUNTRY 98
79 NBA-TV 98
79 UP 98
82 MTV2 92
83 VICELAND 88
84 DISCOVERY EN ESPANOL 85
85 ESPNU 79
86 OVATION 74
87 UNIVERSO 64
88 DISCOVERY FAMILY CHANNEL 62
89 LOGO 60
90 DISCOVERY LIFE CHANNEL 59
91 FOX DEPORTES 55
92 BABY FIRST TV 49
92 BET HER 49
92 TENNIS CHANNEL 49
95 EL REY 47
95 ESPN DEPORTES 47
97 FUSE 42
98 ESPNEWS 39
99 CINE LATINO 37
100 FOX SPORTS 2 35
101 DISCOVERY FAMILIA 28
101 UNIVERSAL KIDS 28
103 CNN EN ESPANOL 23
104 BEIN SPORT ESPANOL 17
105 JUSTICE CENTRAL 13
106 MTV CLASSIC 10
107 BEIN SPORT 6
108 ESN LIFESTYLES 4
109 COMEDY.TV 1

Below is how the cable channels stack up on a 24-hour basis. Readers can see Nickelodeon jump up on the list, which makes sense considering kids are usually in bed for primetime. All-day news channel CNN also moves up in the rankings, as does ID, which has a strong daytime appeal to stay-at-home moms.

History channel, whose audience skews old and male, falls out of the top 10 here. Comedy channel TBS also doesn’t do so hot when factoring in the full day.

And yes, in case you were wondering, Comedy.TV stays exactly the same.

M-Sunday 6A-6A
P2+
Rank Network AA (000)
1 FOX NEWS CHANNEL 1,442
2 MSNBC 990
3 NICKELODEON 875
4 HOME AND GARDEN TV 743
5 ESPN 725
6 INVESTIGATION DISCOVERY 717
7 CNN 702
8 HALLMARK CHANNEL 618
9 USA NETWORK 616
10 TURNER NETWORK TELEVISION 598
11 HISTORY 539
12 FOOD NETWORK 526
13 TV LAND 493
14 TBS NETWORK 491
15 THE CARTOON NETWORK 478
16 A&E NETWORK 460
17 DISCOVERY CHANNEL 420
17 TV LAND CLASSIC 420
19 TLC 382
20 HALLMARK MOVIES & MYSTERIES 369
21 AMC 366
22 FX 365
23 INSP 346
24 LIFETIME TELEVISION 316
25 ANIMAL PLANET 285
25 FREEFORM 285
25 NICK JR 285
28 PARAMOUNT 283
29 GSN 280
30 BLACK ENTERTAINMENT TV 279
31 SYFY 273
32 MTV 265
33 TRAVEL CHANNEL 263
34 WETV 260
35 VH1 256
36 COMEDY CENTRAL 250
37 HLN 247
38 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC 242
39 OXYGEN MEDIA 238
40 LIFETIME MOVIE NETWORK 235
41 WGN AMERICA 226
42 BRAVO 224
43 OPRAH WINFREY NETWORK 208
44 E! 200
45 NBC SPORTS NETWORK 192
46 THE WEATHER CHANNEL 182
47 SCIENCE 180
48 FXX 179
49 FOX SPORTS 1 176
50 ESPN2 173
51 TRUTV 172
52 NAT GEO WILD 162
53 CMT 159
54 MOTOR TREND 147
55 BBC-AMERICA 142
56 DIY NETWORK 139
57 NICKTOONS 138
58 CNBC 136
58 SUNDANCE TV 136
60 NFL NETWORK 135
61 DISNEY XD 131
62 FOX BUSINESS NETWORK 127
63 GOLF CHANNEL 113
64 TEENNICK 111
65 IFC TV 110
66 BOOMERANG 100
67 AMERICAN HEROES CHANNEL 91
68 FX MOVIE CHANNEL 90
68 MTV2 90
70 REELZCHANNEL 88
70 TV ONE 88
72 POP 84
73 COOKING CHANNEL 80
74 MLB NETWORK 79
75 UP 75
76 FYI 73
77 DESTINATION AMERICA 67
78 SMITHSONIAN 60
79 GALAVISION 57
80 GREAT AMERICAN COUNTRY 54
81 UNIVISION DEPORTES 53
82 LOGO 51
83 NBA-TV 46
84 OVATION 42
84 VICELAND 42
86 BABY FIRST TV 41
87 ESPNU 40
88 DISCOVERY EN ESPANOL 38
88 EL REY 38
90 DISCOVERY LIFE CHANNEL 37
91 DISCOVERY FAMILY CHANNEL 35
91 TENNIS CHANNEL 35
91 UNIVERSAL KIDS 35
94 BET HER 34
95 RFD-TV 33
96 ESPNEWS 31
96 UNIVERSO 31
98 FUSE 27
99 CINE LATINO 26
100 ESPN DEPORTES 23
101 FOX DEPORTES 23
102 FOX SPORTS 2 21
103 BEIN SPORT ESPANOL 19
104 DISCOVERY FAMILIA 14
105 CNN EN ESPANOL 12
106 JUSTICE CENTRAL 9
107 BEIN SPORT 7
107 MTV CLASSIC 7
108 ESN LIFESTYLES 2
109 COMEDY.TV 1

Need to IMMEDIATELY known more about Comedy.TV? So did we.

Here is the channel’s description, per its website:

Some say laughter is the best medicine. It’s true. Standup comedy has been known to cure everything from bad moods and frowns to fits of pouting. So for those who need a heavy dose of hilarity, try a spoonful of “Comedy.TV.” With no traffic jams, parking debacles, or two-drink minimums of the local comedy clubs, the most clever comedians jump onstage for a full-fledged funny fest.

Find out if the channel is available in your market here. Let’s get those stats up in 2019!