Fox News Tops Cable Ratings in Q3 Primetime; CNN Second, While MSNBC Tumbles

In a busy summer for big news stories, Fox News Channel topped all of ad-supported cable in same-night ratings, standing as the third quarter’s most-watched network in weekday primetime for the first time since 2003.

CNN continued its momentum, placing second in the key news demo of adults 25-54 while rival MSNBC took a tumble.

According to Nielsen, Fox News averaged 2.11 million viewers from 8 to 11 p.m. between June 30 and Sept. 26, putting it ahead of USA (1.96 million), ESPN (1.89 million) and TNT (1.43 million) in same-night viewing. (The entertainment networks move ahead in Nielsen’s “most current” ratings.)

Among cable news networks, FNC outdrew the combined totals of CNN (553,000), MSNBC (552,000) and HLN (352,000).

If you add the 7 p.m. hour to the primetime totals (Greta Van Susteren’s show), Fox News has finished on top of basic cable for the first time, averaging 2.01 million. The network is coming up on the one-year anniversary of its revamped 7-11 p.m. lineup.

Each of the lineup’s programs posted growth in both total viewers and adults 25-54: “The O’Reilly Factor” (2.696 million, including 447,000 adults 25-54), “The Kelly File” (2.297 million, including 401,000 adults 25-54), “Hannity” (1.650 million, including 339,000 adults 25-54) and “On The Record with Greta Van Susteren” (1.727 million, including 283,000 adults 25-54).

CNN leap-frogged MSNBC for second place among the cable news networks in primetime, with the former up a bit and the latter down 21% in the 25-54 demo. This is the second straight quarter that CNN has placed second in primetime (as well total day) in adults 25-54.

CNN’s 9 p.m. programming (mostly “AC 360”) ranked No. 2 in cable news in 25-54, outperforming MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” (210,000 vs. 182,000). Earlier in the day, CNN’s “New Day” had its highest delivery to date and its first quarterly win over MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

 

PRIMETIME AVERAGES FOR THIRD QUARTER
(June 30-Sept. 26, 2014)

Adults 25-54
Fox News               309,000 (up 11% from last year)
CNN                        185,000 (up 3%)
MSNBC                  150,000 (down 21%)
HLN                        120,000 (down 12%)

Total Viewers
Fox News                1.777 million (up 10% from last year)
CNN                         553,000 (up 2%)
MSNBC                   552,000 (down 3%)
HLN                         352,000 (down 4%)

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