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Fox News Channel will mark 25th anniversary atop basic cable after dominant third quarter

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Fox News Channel finished the third quarter the most-watched network in all of basic cable among both total day and primetime viewers as the network marks its 25th anniversary. 

Fox News, which launched on October 7, 1996, has now topped cable news for 79-straight quarters and beat CNN and MSNBC combined in key measurables. 

The network has also finished No. 1 in basic cable for the seventh-straight quarter and beat both CNN and MSNBC during every hour of the day in the news-heavy quarter as Americans turned to Fox News for information and analysis. 

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Fox News averaged 1.4 million viewers, compared to 738,000 for MSNBC and only 598,000 for CNN during the jam-packed quarter that featured coverage of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, President Biden’s chaotic military withdrawal from Afghanistan, a crisis along the southern border, now-former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigning amid sexual harassment claims and a variety of other major news. 

"Tucker Carlson Tonight" averaged 3.2 million viewers to finish the quarter as the most-watched cable news program.

“Tucker Carlson Tonight” averaged 3.2 million viewers to finish the quarter as the most-watched cable news program.
(Fox news)

Fox News also topped CNN and MSNBC combined during the primetime hours of 8-11 p.m., averaging 2.4 million viewers compared to 1.3 for MSNBC and only 822,000 for CNN. 

“Tucker Carlson Tonight” averaged 3.2 million viewers to finish the quarter as the most-watched show on cable news. “The Five” averaged three million viewers to finish behind only “Tucker” as the No. 2 program in all of cable news despite airing at 5 p.m. ET, while “Hannity” averaged 2.9 million viewers to finish third.

“The Ingraham Angle” averaged 2.3 million viewers as host Laura Ingraham finished as the most-watched solo female host in cable news, topping MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” which finished fifth. 

CNN’s most popular show was the scandal-plagued “Cuomo Prime Time,” which ranked No. 23 for the quarter and failed to crack the one-million viewer plateau. Despite being CNN’s most popular program, “Cuomo Prime Time” finished behind 15 different Fox News offerings and seven MSNBC programs. 

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“Gutfeld!” outdrew every CNN program regardless of time slot and even topped ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” among total viewers for the quarter in Nielsen’s Live+SD metric. 

"Gutfeld!" outdrew every CNN program despite timeslot.

“Gutfeld!” outdrew every CNN program despite timeslot.

“Tucker Carlson Tonight” also finished atop the key demographic, averaging 549,000 nightly viewers between ages 25-54 as Fox News dominated the category coveted by advertisers. “Hannity,” “The Five,” “The Ingraham Angle,” “Special Report with Bret Baier,” “Gutfeld!” and “Fox News Primetime” all outdrew anything CNN and MSNBC had to offer in the crucial demo. 

As a result, Fox News crushed both liberal networks in the category. 

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FNC averaged 227,000 demo viewers compared to 130,000 for CNN and only 94,000 for MSNBC. During primetime, FNC averaged 377,000 while CNN managed 188,000 and MSNBC attracted only 161,000. 

CNN and MSNBC both had their lowest-rated quarters among the demo since at least 2015. 

“Fox & Friends” averaged 1.2 million total viewers and 210,000 in the demo to top cable news competition in both categories. CNN’s long struggling “New Day” finished with its worst quarter since 2014 and failed to even average 500,000 daily viewers. 

“America’s Newsroom with Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino,” “The Faulkner Focus,” “Outnumbered,” “America Reports with John Roberts and Sandra Smith,” “The Story” and “Your World with Neil Cavuto” are among Fox News’ daytime offerings that outdrew CNN’s most popular show. 

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On weekends, “Unfiltered with Dan Bongino,” “Watters’ World,” “Justice with Judge Jeanine,” “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo,” “MediaBuzz,” “Life Liberty and Levin,” “Sunday Night in America with Trey Gowdy” and “The Next Revolution with host Steve Hilton” helped Fox News finish with the 17 most-watched programs among total viewers. 

All data courtesy of Nielsen Media Research. 

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