Ratings: Fox News Channel No. 1 Cable Network for Third Quarter

Fox News Megyn Kelly
Courtesy of Fox News Channel

Thanks in part to the Republican Presidential Primary Debate and the draw of Donald Trump, Fox News Channel was the most popular primetime cable network for the third quarter — a first for the channel.

FNC’s third quarter saw double-digit increases in both primetime total viewers and the key 25-54 demo over the same time last year, averaging 1,952,000 in total viewers (up 10%) and 395,000 in the key demo (up 28%), according to Nielsen’s “live plus same-day” estimates. The debate, which aired Aug. 6, brought in 24 million viewers overall. By comparison, CNN averaged 814,000 and MSNBC drew 625,000 in primetime.

Following Fox News Channel among the most-watched cable networks on a same-night basis during July, August and September were ESPN (delivering 1,707,000 total viewers), USA (1,552,000), HGTV (1,480,000) and TNT (1,418,000). USA was the most-watched among all networks in the key demos P18-49 (745,000) and P25-54 (805,000) in press prime, with a +12% and +9% lead in the demos respectively.

FNC also stayed on top in Nielsen’s “most current” metric, which is used by most cable networks. By this measure, which blends in full-week DVR playback where available, Fox News averaged 1.99 million viewers, followed by USA (1.81 million), TNT (1.80 million), Disney Channel (1.79 million) and ESPN (1.71 million).

Bill O’Reilly’s FNC staple “The O’Reilly Factor” also had a momentous third quarter, delivering its highest-rated quarter in total viewers (2,870,000) since the fourth quarter of 2012. It was up the most in primetime viewers compared to any other FNC primetime program (up 7%).

Another winner in the third quarter was OWN, as series highs for Tyler Perry soap “The Haves and the Have Nots” lifted the network to its most-watched quarter in network history (550,000 viewers in primetime) and its highest-rated to date in women 25-54 (0.39 coverage rating), moving up to 18th among all cablers. “If Loving You Is Wrong,” “Iyanla: Fix My Life” and comedy “For Better or Worse” were among other shows to contribute to the network’s strong summer.

Elsewhere, Fox Business Network’s “Lou Dobbs Tonight” helped the network score its first-ever monthly ratings win over CNBC in total viewers (115,000 to 113,000 total viewers for September), according to Nielsen.

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  1. We had watched Fox since it’s inception but lately we only trust O’Reilly…Roots Kelly is horribly opinionated , snide, and surrounds herself with a moron cabal….Fox needs a new programming exec….

  2. Zebbie Smith says:

    I have watched Fox for a long time but not so much anymore and it was because I was seeing wall to wall Donald Trump but I still watch Bill O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly and a few others but it still is nice when they give others running air time and not so much Trump.

  3. Guffman says:

    Nice to see Trump credited as he IS the real reason Fox’s ratings are high in this last quarter.
    If his recent fight with Fox carries through the whole next quarter and he refuses to appear on that network in that time, it’ll be interesting to see what the ratings look like then.

  4. rodlang says:

    Trump has been on every station….broadcast and cable. Has be boosted all the ratings? Probably since Trump is a celebrity.l

  5. IQ136 says:

    Fox News haters are intellectually stunted from watching CNN and MSNBC.

    The Pew Research organization did a study and found that Fox News viewers are more informed than viewers of all other news sources, including the three major network newscasts.

    Pew also found that Fox News viewers watch and read a broader range of opinion oriented news than do most people, which results in being more informed.

    It’s official. Those who don’t watch Fox News are intellectual lightweights.

  6. Shadow says:

    I’m not surprised; this election season is fascinating, and Fox News has aired about double the election coverage of other cable news networks, which causes political junkies of all stripes to gravitate there even if they’re mostly horrified by the editorial slant Fox News often shows towards a snarky, disdainful, and xenophobic neocon supply-side view. MSNBC and CNN have been covering the Democratic race less than Fox News, giving them less overall political coverage of an election season which is already a strong candidate for the most entertaining of our lifetimes; this lack of adequate coverage of Bernie Sanders is actually costing all three networks even more ratings, but Fox News least of all, because they cover the Democratic race the most as a part of covering politics the most. MSNBC having Chuck Todd step up and do a daily show is a great step in the right direction, as his ratings spike on Meet The Press has shown. Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow need to up their 2016 coverage a bit as well.

  7. Steve says:

    And the Trumptards were claiming the Fox News was going to suffer in the ratings for fighting with Trump.

  8. jim says:

    There is a term in canada they say some is American smart. Means they think they know what their talking about but their facts all wrong. Fox news is American smart.

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