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Cable News Ratings: Fox News Tops Third Quarter, CNN Beats MSNBC Among Demo

Fox News has its most-watched quarter ever among total day viewers

Fox News topped basic cable in both primetime and total-day viewing as the most-watched network among all of cable for the third quarter of 2016, while CNN beat rival MSNBC in most measurables.

Fox News averaged 1.4 million total day viewers, compared to 787,000 for CNN and 676,000 for MSNBC. Among the key news demo of adults age 25-54, Fox News averaged 276,000 viewers while CNN’s 240,000 beat MSNBC’s 168,000.

During primetime, Fox News averaged 2.3 million viewers and 426,000 among the key demo. CNN and MSNBC essentially tied in total viewers but CNN’s 373,000 demo viewers crushed MSNBC’s average of 279,000.

Fox News had its most-watched quarter ever among total day viewers as the network approaches its 20th anniversary next month. Fox News has now finished a quarter as No. 1 in both primetime and total-day viewers 59 times. HGTV, ESPN, USA and TBS join FNC as the top five networks during primetime, while Nickelodeon, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network and HGTV rounded out the top five among total day viewers.

CNN beat MSNBC in total day viewers, total day demo and the primetime demo, but MSNBC slightly edged CNN in total primetime viewers, 1.22 million compared to 1.21 million. It was CNN’s most-watched quarter in eight years among both total viewers and the demo.

CNN has now topped MSNBC for 10 straight quarters among total viewers, the primetime demo and is now the third fastest-growing cable network among both total viewers and the total day demo.

Meanwhile, Fox News had the Top 10 programs in total viewers and seven out of the top 10 among cable news programs and every FNC program is up double-digits in both categories compared to the same quarter last year.

“The O’Reilly Factor,” “The Kelly File,” “Hannity,” Special Report with Bret Baier,” The Five,” “On the Record,” “America’s Newsroom,” “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” “Outnumbered,” and “Shepard Smith Reporting” make up the Top 10 cable news programs among with total viewers. “The Rachel Maddow Show” is MSNBC’s most-watched show, finishing 11th overall, while “Anderson Cooper 360” is CNN’s most-watched show in the category at No. 17 overall.

When it comes to the demo, CNN’s “AC 360” jumps all the way to No. 5 overall, behind only Kelly, Hannity, O’Reilly and Baier. “Hannity” finished first in the demo for the month of September, while “The Kelly File” won the demo for the quarter.