MSNBC and CNN Have Daytime Ratings Wins in July, Fox News Is Most-Watched

As the pandemic and national conversation around diversity and discrimination continued, all three cable news networks notched a few ratings victories for the month


MSNBC and CNN saw July ratings victories in the dayside hours of 9-5 p.m. ET while Fox News was the most-watched cable news channel, according to Nielsen Media Research.

On MSNBC, “Deadline: White House” with Nicolle Wallace at 4 p.m. ET was No. 1 in total viewers across all of cable news for the second straight month, averaging 2 million viewers and edging out Fox News’ 1,700,000 and CNN’s 1,400,000 million. CNN had its most-watched July in 40 years and was in first place in the key age demographic of 25 to 54 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., averaging 304,000 viewers in the demo. Fox News averaged 254,000 and MSNBC averaged 180,000.

Fox News also had its highest-rated July and was the most-watched cable network in both total day and primetime total viewers, marking its 49th month in a row at the top in both.

July was Fox News’ 223rd month as the top cable news network in both total day and primetime.

At CNN, shows helmed by Erin Burnett, Jake Tapper and Brian Stelter were the top in the key demo for their respective time slots. Tapper’s “The Lead” beat Wallace’s “Deadline” on MSNBC in the 4 p.m. slot for the demo, pulling in 329,000 average viewers between 25 and 54. Fox News’ “Your World With Neil Cavuto” followed with 269,000 demo viewers and MSNBC’s “Deadline” had 251,000.  “The Lead” also had its highest July ratings ever and grew the most in cable news for the month, up 87% in total viewers and 116% in the demo.

In primetime, Fox News’ “Hannity” was the number-one cable news program for the month with almost 4,100,000 viewers, In total viewers, Fox News had four of the five top-performing cable news programs: “Hannity” averaged 4,096,000, “Tucker Carlson Tonight” got 4,020,000, “The Ingraham Angle” earned 3,415,000, MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show: brought in 3,339,000, and Fox News’ “The Five” saw 3,307,000.

MSNBC had a primetime win, too: “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” at 11 p.m. had its best monthly audience performance in the channel’s history, taking the top spot in the time slot with about 2,100,000 total viewers. Fox News had 2,000,000 and CNN brought in 1,100,000 in the same slot.

Of all three major cable news network, CNN saw the most year-over-year growth in both total viewers and demo viewers, growing 79% in total day and 94% in the demo. Fox News grew 19% in total and 17% in the demo while MSNBC saw total growth of 41%, with a 39% increase in the demo.