The 2016 presidential election cycle has been very good to cable news networks.
Fox News Channel delivered its most watched quarter ever in total-day viewership. FNC ranked No. 1 in basic cable for Q3 primetime and total-day total viewers. Despite the network’s internecine dramas, FNC viewers stayed loyal, to the tune of 2.44M primetime viewers, 459K of them in the news demo, and 1.41M total-day total viewers, 276K of which fell in the key sales age bracket.
This marks the second quarter in a calendar year FNC has notched the No. 1 spot in both dayparts, which is a first for the network. Among news networks, it’s FNC’s 59th quarter on top in primetime and total-day total viewers. Among the network’s Q3 milestones, The Kelly File was No. 1 among all cable news programs in the news demo (569K), while clocking its best quarterly stats to date in total viewers (2.9 million). And FNC’s The O’Reilly Factor celebrated its 66th consecutive quarter at No. 1 in overall audience, drawing 3.2M viewers during the election-cycle obsessed quarter; the show averaged 550K in the news demo.
CNN, meanwhile, clocked its most watched quarter in eight years, among both total viewers and adults 25-54 in Q3 2016, which officially ended Sunday. In primetime, it was CNN’s second-best quarter in eight years, in both metrics, behind only Q4 2008. In primetime CNN logged 1.22M viewers and 399K news demo viewers; its total-day tally for the quarter stood at 787K total viewers and 240K news demo viewers.
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MSNBC drew its biggest total-day audience ever in the third quarter of 2016, averaging 676K viewers. MSNBC also squeaked past CNN in weekday primetime viewers: 1.224M to 1.216M. Among that network’s bright spots, Brian Williams’ election-cycle pop-up program The 11th Hour, launched in early September, has logged 1.06M viewers, leading CNN in overall audience, though CNN Tonight tops in the demo.
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