Fox News Channel crushes cable competition in 2023, finishes as most-watched network for the 8th straight year

Fox News Channel will finish 2023 as cable television’s most-watched network for the eighth consecutive year as “The Five” continued to make history and the network’s new primetime lineup thrived. 

“During yet another unprecedented news cycle, cable viewers continued to choose Fox News Channel. From moderating debates to reporting in war zones and many stories in between, I am honored to work alongside this unrivaled team of journalists and opinion hosts as they continue to exceed expectations,” FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott said. 

“The Five,” with Greg Gutfeld, Jesse Watters, Dana Perino, Jeanine Pirro and rotating co-hosts Jessica Tarlov and Harold Ford Jr., finished as the No. 1 program on cable news for the second consecutive year, averaging 2.9 million total viewers.

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“Jesse Watters Primetime” finished second with 2.5 million average total viewers, while “Hannity” averaged 2.4 million to finish third. “Special Report with Bret Baier,” “The Ingraham Angle” and Gutfeld!” rounded out the top six as Fox News programs dominated with 13 of the top 20 most-watched cable news offerings. 

CNN’s most-watched program was “Anderson Cooper 360,” which finished No. 29 among cable news options. Despite being CNN’s most popular show, “AC 360” managed only 743,000 total viewers to finish behind 14 Fox News programs and 14 MSNBC shows. 

When it comes to the advertiser-coveted demographic of adults age 25-54, “The Five” finished No. 1, with 303,000 average viewers from the critical category. It was the first time in TV history that a non-primetime cable program finished first in the category. 

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“Hannity,” “Gutfeld!,” “Jesse Watters Primetime,” “The Ingraham Angle,” “Special Report,” “Outnumbered,” “The Faulkner Focus” and “America’s Newsroom with Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino” all topped anything CNN or MSNBC had to offer in the key demo. 

CNN had its lowest-rated year of all time, marking back-to-back years hitting historic lows. MSNBC had its least-watched year among the key demo during primetime since 1999.

Fox News averaged 1.2 million total day viewers while runner-up MSNBC settled for 784,000 as FNC was the only cable channel to surpass the one-million viewers benchmark. CNN managed only 482,000 total day viewers. 

During primetime, Fox News averaged 1.9 million total viewers to top No. 2 ESPN. 

MSNBC managed 1.2 million average primetime viewers to finish third, but CNN struggled mightily in the category. 

CNN averaged only 586,000 primetime viewers to finish No. 12 among cable networks, with a smaller audience than networks such as TLC, Hallmark and HGTV. 

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Meanwhile, the first Republican primary debate in August, co-moderated by Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, was the most-watched telecast of the year and drew nearly 13 million viewers.

Sean Hannity’s unprecedented “DeSantis vs. Newsom: The Great Red State vs. Blue State Debate” on November 30 netted over 5.5 million viewers to finish as the top-rated regularly scheduled telecast of the hour in 2023.

“FOX & Friends” continued to dominate morning cable news, finishing as the highest-rated morning show for the 22nd straight year with 1.1 million average viewers. “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo” had the largest weekend cable news audience with 1.5 million viewers, while “Life, Liberty and Levin” took the Saturday crown with 1.2 million. 

All data courtesy of Nielsen Media Research preliminary information.

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