Cable Ratings: Fox News Beats CNN, MSNBC Combined

Rupert Murdoch’s juggernaut dominates the cable news landscape; ESPN finishes first in primetime

Fox News Bill O'Reilly Megyn Kelly Sean hannity

Fox News Channel dominated cable television ratings last week, finishing No. 1 in both primetime and total day viewership and crushing its cable news competition.

Neither CNN nor MSNBC could compete with Rupert Murdoch’s juggernaut, with FNC beating its chief rivals combined in both categories.

Fox News averaged 2.56 million primetime viewers to hold off the NFL-heavy ESPN (2.29 million) for the week of Dec. 5-11. Hallmark, Discovery and AMC joined Fox News and ESPN in the top five. MSNBC averaged 893,000 primetime viewers, topping CNN’s 782,000. CNN and MSNBC combined for an average of 1.68 million viewers, well below the viewership that Fox News delivered.

When it comes to total day viewers, Fox News averaged 1.58 million viewers while Nickelodeon finished second with 1.21 million viewers. Hallmark, ESPN and Adult Swim rounded out the top five most-watched networks with CNN finishing 16th and MSBC finishing 21st.

ESPN finished first in primetime and was the only cable network to average over 1 million viewers for the week in the key news demo of adults age 25-54, while Fox News finished ninth. CNN finished 26th in the category, while MSNBC finished 33rd behind channels including VH1 and Syfy.

Adult Swim won the demo among total day viewers, averaging 404,000 sets of eyeballs aged 25-54. Fox News finished 10th in the category with CNN placing 25th and MSNBC again ranking 33rd. ESPN, Hallmark, TNT and USA join Adult Swim in the top five.

In addition to the cable dominance, the Fox News-produced “Fox News Sunday” with Chris Wallace on Fox broadcast averaged 2.3 million in total viewers, marking the program’s second most-watched telecast ever, behind only coverage of Saddam Hussein’s capture in 2003.