CNN had a great October, topping all of cable news in the genre’s key demographic group of 25-54 for the first time in 15 years. For the first time since 2001, CNN beat Fox News Channel for the month, in both total day and primetime, in the age bracket that is the currency of news ad sales. CNN also enjoyed its most watched month in 11 years thanks in some measure to October’s race-changing 2005 Access Hollywood tape leak, in which GOP White House hopeful Donald Trump was heard on a hot mic boasting to Billy Bush about his Famous Men Get To Grope Women With Impunity Pass.
Fox News Channel, meanwhile, set a new record as the No. 1 basic cable network in total viewers for a fifth month this year, both in primetime and total day. Among its highlights, FNC was the clear winner of the James Comey Election Cycle Grenade Lob though, unfortunately, that event was not held until the tail end of the month, giving the network a shorter monthly ratings halo.
FNC also benefited from the appointment of its own Chris Wallace as moderator of the final presidential debate; his performance logged 11.4M viewers for the network, topping cable and broadcast competitors on total viewers while also finishing first among cable news nets in the news demo. FNC beat all basic cable competition for the largest overall crowds, including a primetime 3.062M viewers and a total day 1.541M.
In primetime, CNN clocked 704K viewers aged 25-54 (up 140%), besting FNC’s 663K (up 126%), and MSNBC’s 432K (up 261%). In total day CNN led with 334K news demo viewers (up 135%), edging out FNC’s 327K (up 67%), as well as MSNBC’s 221K (up 154%).
(FNC squeezed past CNN in both dayparts with weekday-only total day and primetime demo stats, reflecting CNN’s strength, and FNC’s softer status, on weekends.)
October marked FNC’s 178th month as the No. 1 ranked cable news net in both dayparts, with overall audience. FNC’s total day total-viewer tally of 1.547M viewers bested CNN’s 1.020M and MSNBC’s 886K. FNC was up 43% compared to October ’15, while CNN climbed 100% and MSNBC jumped 129%M.
In primetime, FNC’s 3.062M outlapped CNN’s 1.910M and MSNBC”s 1.688M. Fox climbed 74% compared to year ago stats, while CNN improved by 100% and MSNBC spiked 168%.
FNC’s The Kelly File (641K) was cable news’s top-tier show in the news demo for October, followed by The O’Reilly Factor (621K),and Hannity (571K). CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 (580K) followed, then MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow (507K).
In total viewer, The O’Reilly Factor (3.383M) finished first, followed by The Kelly File (2.984M), Hannity (2.495M), as well as FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier (2.441M), and The Five (2.350M).