‘The Five’ is October’s most-watched cable news show as Fox News crushes MSNBC, CNN

Fox News Channel’s “The Five” finished October as the most-watched show in cable news to help the network outdraw MSNBC and CNN combined in critical ratings categories. 

Fox News, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in October, averaged 1.4 million viewers to finish No. 1 in all of basic cable while none of the other networks managed to crack the one-million viewer barrier. ESPN finished second with 892,000 and MSNBC finished third with 680,000 average viewers. CNN settled for only 487,000 average viewers and failed to crack the top five. 

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"The Five" finished October as the most-watched cable news program, averaging 3.1 million viewers. 

“The Five” finished October as the most-watched cable news program, averaging 3.1 million viewers. 

As a result, Fox News finished the busy news month with a 55% share of cable news total viewership, compared to 26% for MSNBC and only 19% for CNN. 

“The Five” finished October as the most-watched cable news program, averaging 3.1 million viewers. It was the first time that Fox News’ signature roundtable program finished a month with the largest audience in cable news, an accomplishment that is even more significant when considering it airs at 5 p.m. ET and is competing with primetime programing that historically draws larger audiences. 

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“Tucker Carlson Tonight” averaged 3.1 million to finish second, while “Hannity” averaged 2.7 million to finish third. “Special Report with Bret Baier” and “The Ingraham Angle” rounded out the top five as Fox News offerings made up 13 of the 15 most-watched programs on cable news. 

MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” settled for sixth place, finishing as the most-watched program that isn’t on Fox News. 

CNN’s most popular program was the scandal-plagued “Cuomo Prime Time,” which averaged 811,000 nightly viewers to finish behind 15 Fox News and seven MSNBC programs. Despite being the most popular show on CNN, “Cuomo Prime Time” had its worst month since it launched in 2017. 

"Gutfeld!" marked its six-month anniversary as the No. 1 cable program in its 11 p.m. ET timeslot.

“Gutfeld!” marked its six-month anniversary as the No. 1 cable program in its 11 p.m. ET timeslot.

“Tucker Carlson Tonight” finished atop the advertiser-coveted demo of adults age 25-54, averaging 483,000 viewers from the crucial category. “The Five,” “Hannity,” “The Ingraham Angle,” “Special Report with Bret Baier,” “Gutfeld!,” “Fox News Primetime,” “America’s Newsroom,” “Outnumbered,” “The Faulkner Focus” and “America Reports” all finished with larger demo audiences than anything CNN or MSNBC had to offer as Fox News programs swept the top ten and finished with 15 of the 16 most-popular shows in the category. 

MSNBC’s best demo performer was “Maddow,” which finished No. 12 among cable news programs and CNN’s was “Erin Burnett OutFront,” which settled for No. 17.  

Only NFL-heavy ESPN outdrew Fox News during the primetime hours of 8-11 p.m. ET, as FNC averaged 2.3 million viewers to finish second in the category. TBS, MSNBC and Hallmark Channel rounded out the top five while CNN finished outside the top ten with a dismal primetime average of only 661,000 viewers. 

Fox News topped CNN by more than 240% in primetime viewers and 150% among the primetime demo to finish with its largest win over the liberal network since 2014. 

Fox News’ Laura Ingraham was October’s most-watched solo, female cable news host as she outdrew MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. 

Fox News’ Laura Ingraham was October’s most-watched solo, female cable news host as she outdrew MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. 
(Fox news)

“Gutfeld!” marked its six-month anniversary as the No. 1 cable program in its 11 p.m. ET timeslot, and outdrew ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and NBC’s “The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon.”

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“Fox & Friends” was the most-watched cable news morning show for the seventh-straight month, averaging 1.3 million viewers as CNN’s struggling “New Day” averaged only 384,000. 

CNN finished with its smallest monthly audience among both weekday total day viewers and the primetime demo since 2014, as every weekday program on CNN finished with a yearly low in both categories. 

Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson helped Fox News’ primetime lineup dominate October. (Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson helped Fox News’ primetime lineup dominate October. (Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images
(Fox News |  Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, MSNBC also had significant issues attracting viewers during October. 

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The progressive network had its worst performance among they key demo since 2004, and “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” finished with its smallest audience ever in the category. 

“America’s Newsroom with Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino,” “The Faulkner Focus,” “Outnumbered,” “America Reports with John Roberts and Sandra Smith,” Martha MacCallum’s “The Story” and “Your World with Neil Cavuto” all had strong months to help Fox News’ daytime lineup crush cable news competition. 

Fox News also ended the month on a positive note, as the network finished atop basic cable from Oct. 25-31 for its 37th straight weekly win among total viewers. 

All data courtesy of Nielsen Media Research. 

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