Cable News Ratings: GOP Debate Powers Fox News to Monster August

No. 1 cable news network up 64 percent in primetime 25-54 demo, ranks No. 1 in basic cable primetime


Fox News’ record Republican presidential debate audience helped lift it to a huge month, allowing the the network to top both cable news and basic cable.

The network ranked No. 1 in primetime cable, ahead of TNT, USA, HGTV and TBS. The  August 6 GOP debate definitely helped its cause, delivering 24 million viewers and 8 million viewers in the advertiser-coveted 25-54 demo. During the day, Fox News ranked second, behind Nickelodeon.

In primetime, Fox News jumped 34 percent in viewers and 64 percent in demo viewers year-over-year; during the day, FNC spiked 13 percent in viewers and seven percent in the demo.

All programs between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m and 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. ranked No. 1 in basic cable.

The network’s primetime lineup all saw double digit gains in viewers and the demo, including “On the Record,” with Greta Van Susteren, “The O’Reilly Factor” with Bill O’Reilly, “The Kelly File” with Megyn Kelly (who was on vacation for a week and a half last month) and “Hannity” with Sean Hannity.

MSNBC saw gains in total day and primetime: The “Lean Forward” network increased 11 percent in viewers during the day (down 10 percent in the daytime demo) and jumped 12 percent in primetime viewers (down seven percent in the primetime demo).

Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, and Lawrence O’Donnell’s programs beat CNN in total viewers; “All In” with Chris Hayes lost to Anderson Cooper. “Morning Joe” saw its highest ratings since 2013 and topped CNN for the sixth consecutive month in viewers.

HLN had a strong month as well — it was the only network to see double-digit gains in the 25-54 demo for the total day. The “TV home for social media” beat MSNBC in the daytime demo for the 15th straight month.

CNN saw double-digit declines across the board compared to last year: down 13 percent in total viewers and 17 percent in the demo during the day, and down 10 percent in total viewers and 15 percent in the demo in primetime.

The network did rank No. 2 in the daytime and primetime demo for the 14th straight month.

As the calendar turns to fall and 2016 coverage intensifies, all cable news should see a bump in September.