Fox News Dominates Primetime Ratings Friday, CNN Tops Demo at Midnight


On a HUGE news evening when the federal government was careening towards a shutdown, Fox News pulled out a big primetime ratings victory as it was head and shoulders above the rest of the cable news competition during the 8 PM to 11 PM time slot. Meanwhile, as the midnight deadline for a Senate vote approached, CNN pulled in the most viewers in the key 25-54 demographic.

According to Nielsen, Fox News averaged a robust 3.289 million total viewers and 666,000 in the demo during Friday’s primetime hours. MSNBC finished second in both metrics, totaling 2.494 overall viewers while nabbing a demographic audience of 496,000. CNN was able to capture 1.28 million total viewers and 461,000 in the 25-54 demographic.

As far as the sales day (6 AM to 2 AM), Fox News led the way in both total viewership (2.061 million) and the key demo (421,000). MSNBC was second in overall audience (1.454 million) but finished third in the demographic, pulling in 299,000 to CNN’s 326,000. CNN averaged 967,000 viewers for the sales day.

During primetime, Fox News’ three shows all led their hours in both total viewers and the demo. Hannity was the most-watched program on Friday, attracting 3.443 million viewers. Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight led all primetime programs in the key demographic as it pulled in 683,000 viewers in the metric. The 8 PM Fox show finished second to Hannity in overall audience for the day, grabbing 3.257 million.

The top non-Fox primetime program was MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, with the 9 PM program averaging 2.991 million total viewers and 592,000 in the demographic, finishing second in its time slot in both metrics. Meanwhile, it should be noted that as the deadline approached, younger viewers began switching the channel to CNN. During the 10 PM hour, CNN Tonight was second in the demographic (572,000), jumping ahead of MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell (531,000).

At 11 PM, MSNBC’s The 11th Hour led the way with total viewers at 2.48 million. As for CNN, that hour the network pulled in the largest demo audience as it grabbed 572,000. Fox News had an overall audience of 2.387 million and 563,000 in the demographic. At midnight, CNN captured the largest 25-54 audience (711,000) of the entire day as viewers were riveted by the drama on Capitol Hill.

Over the weekend, Fox News was able to claim another win during a busy Saturday. With both the government shutdown and women’s marches front and center, FNC led for the entire day, averaging 1.407 million in total viewership and 309,000 in the demo. CNN was right behind for the day in the demographic, averaging 308,000 and also ranking second in overall audience (913,000). Special attention should be given to the debut of Fox News’ Cavuto Live. In its first broadcast, the Fox show led its 10 AM to 12 PM time slot in both total viewers (2.109 million) and the demo (419,000).

[image via Fox News]

Follow Justin Baragona on Twitter: @justinbaragona

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