CNN Wins Primetime Demo, Fox News Tops Total Viewers in July Ratings

Fox News has been No. 1 overall for 175 straight months, but CNN grows 226 percent to win coveted demo

Last Updated: August 2, 2016 @ 4:17 PM

A July filled with bad news was good news for TV ratings.

All major cable news networks grew significantly across the board last month compared to the same period a year ago, after two presidential conventions, a handful of police-related tragedies and terror attacks in Nice, France, caused a ton of viewers to switch on cable news.

Fox News Channel dominated prime time among total viewers, averaging 2.8 million, compared to CNN’s 1.7 million and MSNBC’s 1.3 million.

However, CNN grew 226 percent to win prime time in the key demographic of adults age 25-54, averaging 568,000 viewers between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET. Fox News finished second with 557,000 pairs of eyeballs, and MSNBC finished a distant third with 345,000.

Despite plenty of distractions and bad press surrounding its now-former chairman and CEO, Roger Ailes, who stepped down amidst sexual assault allegations on July 21, Fox News remained No. 1 among total cable news viewers for the 175th straight month.

Fox News averaged 1.6 million total-day viewers, up 61 percent. CNN averaged 955,000 but grew 125 percent, and MSNBC averaged 716,000 for a year-over-year gain of 94 percent. In the key demo, CNN showed the most growth by gaining 130 percent to average 299,000 total-day viewers, but it still trailed Fox News’ 315,000 average.

Fox News is on track to have its highest-rated year ever, and July was the network’s fifth-highest-rated month ever. Among all cable news networks, Fox News had the top 11 programs in total viewers and seven out of the top 10 in the demo.

“The O’Reilly Factor,” “The Kelly File,” “Hannity,” “Special Report With Bret Baier” and “The Five” are the top five cable news programs among total viewers, with “Anderson Cooper 360” finishing No. 12 to lead CNN. The most-watched program on MSNBC was “The Rachel Maddow Show,” at No. 16 overall.

Anderson Cooper’s program jumped to No. 4 overall in the demo, joining “The Kelly File,” “Hannity,” “The O’Reilly Factor” and “On the Record With Greta Van Susteren” among the top five. Maddow was MSNBC’s highest-rated show in the demo, at No. 14 overall. Kelly topped all of cable news as the most-watched show in the demo.

In addition to Fox News, CNN and MSNBC showing major growth, Fox Business Network continued as the fastest growing network on cable with its highest rated month ever. FBN was up 78 percent in total viewers, while primetime grew 210 percent year over year.