Fox News Was Most Watched Cable Channel in Third Quarter; MSNBC Slides

September 30th, 2014 3:46 PM

During the third quarter, Fox News, which has been routinely walloping its cable-news competition for years, was "the most-watched (network during) primetime across all of cable in more than a decade — even besting USA and ESPN."

So says the Hollywood Reporter, which also gets the award for the most delicious (or is it really the most truthful?) typo of the day:


The list shows MSNBC with 150 adults in the 25-54 age group watching during primetime during the third quarter. Subtracting out media critics and accidental channel surfers would pretty much zero that number out.

Okay, that's enough fun. Here's some of what HR's Michael O'Connell wrote, including news that MSNBC has fallen to third place in the key demographic group (links are in original; bolds are mine):

Fox News Nabs Historic Cable Ratings Victory
FNC celebrates a quarter with the most-watched primetime across the cable dial, while MSNBC slides below CNN in the demo

From the crisis in Ferguson, Mo., to the cultural impact of Robin Williams' and Joan Rivers' sudden deaths and all the way up to recent round-the-clock coverage of U.S. strikes on ISIS, cable news has been heavily occupied. The last three months have been so big, Fox News Channel just clocked its first quarter with the most-watched primetime across all of cable in more than a decade — even besting USA and ESPN.

The average 1.79 million viewers between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m., Monday through Friday, gave FNC its first quarter atop the dial since the Iraq War broke out in 2003. Expanding that block by an hour, which includes Greta Van Susteren at 7 p.m., FNC was the most watched in primetime for the first time ever. And in the targeted demographic of adults 25-54, FNC was up 12 percent from the same period a year ago, with an average 313,000 viewers.

It's the last time the cable network will be compared to its previous primetime. Oct. 7 marks the one-year anniversary of FNC revamping a decade-old lineup with Megyn Kelly's move to 9 p.m. The third quarter marked Kelly's best since launch, up a significant 27 percent (year over year) in the time period previously occupied by Sean Hannity. (Hannity, who airs at 10 p.m., enjoyed a high of his own).

... CNN's gains from the comparable quarter last year were modest, but they were still gains. Its 186,000 adults 18-49 in primetime (8-11 p.m.)  marked a 4 percent improvement and even outpaced MSNBC — now back in third place. MSNBC, still holding slight second-place edge in total viewers, was down 21 percent in the key demo compared to last year. Pulling just an average 150,000 adults 25-54 in primetime, it meant quarterly lows for Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell in the key demo.

Once again, Roger Ailes looks like a genius, this time for his year-ago lineup shuffle.

Members of the leftist establishment press — yes, a redundant term — constantly whine about the alleged rightward slant of Fox News. If that were really true, the network wouldn't be attracting viewers who are obviously coming in from all over the political spectrum. Either that, or the press will have to admit that well over half of the cable news audience — and perhaps the country as a whole — is solidly, substantively "fair and balanced" conservative.

Cross-posted at