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Cable Ratings: Presidential Debate Rockets CNN to No. 3 Among All Networks

No. 1 Fox News has been first in total day viewers for 13 of the past 14 weeks

Fox News Channel was the most-watched network in all of cable for the week of Sept. 26 through Oct. 2, while its rival CNN made huge gains across the board.

Fox News has now been No. 1 in total day viewers for 13 of the past 14 weeks by averaging 1.5 million viewers. CNN jumped to No. 3, averaging 922,000 viewers compared to 819,000 for MSNBC. Nickelodeon, Adult Swim and ESPN join Fox News and CNN in the top five overall cable networks.

The record-setting presidential debate helped all three cable news networks, but Rupert Murdoch’s news channel scored the most total viewers (11.4 million) among cable news networks, with CNN topping the key news demo (4.4 million) of adults ages 25-54.

The strong debate numbers helped Fox News, CNN and MSNBC all finish among the top five in primetime viewers for the week. Fox News averaged 3.2 million viewers, while CNN averaged 2 million and MSNBC averaged 1.6 million. ESPN and USA join the cable newsers among the top five.

Meanwhile, CNN beat Fox News and MSNBC across the board in the key news demo. CNN averaged 327,000 demo viewers among total day and 800,000 primetime demo viewers to win both categories. CNN nearly doubled MSNBC’s primetime demo viewership of 437,000.

The next presidential debate is scheduled for Oct. 9, moderated by CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC’s Martha Raddatz. The final debate is scheduled for Oct. 19, moderated by Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace.