Fox News marked its third consecutive year as the top-rated cable network in 2018 while CNN’s ratings fell significantly across the year.
According to Nielsen Media Research, Fox News finished first in both total day and primetime ratings, while competitor MSNBC finished third in primetime and second in total day. CNN lagged significantly behind, failing to crack the top five in either category and finishing 11th in primetime and 7th in total day. (RELATED: Fox News Slips Behind ESPN, Hallmark)
PRIMETIME RATINGS (2018):
Fox News: 2,475,000 — up 3 percent
MSNBC: 1,807,000 — down 3 percent
CNN: 990,000 — down 6 percent
TOTAL DAY RATINGS (2018):
Fox News: 1,441,000 — down 4 percent
MSNBC: 991,000 — up 12 percent
CNN: 704,000 — down 9 percent
MSNBC was the only “big three” cable news network to experience gains in total day from the previous year, led by programs like “Velshi & Ruhle” and “MSNBC Live.” Meanwhile, Fox News was the only network to increase their primetime ratings across the year, despite a relatively new lineup featuring “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” “Hannity,” and “The Ingraham Angle.”
“Hannity” was the top-rated program in cable news with 3.3 million viewers.
CNN failed to get a single show in the top 20 — their highest-rated program was “Cuomo Primetime” with Chris Cuomo in 23rd. CNN was also the only cable news network whose ratings dropped in both primetime and total day.
“FOX News continues to outperform other basic cable networks, proving once again that our news coverage and premiere team of journalists and opinion hosts are the best in the business. With the recent launch of FOX Nation, an increased focus on digital and the strong ratings momentum we have built, we are confident that 2019 will offer our loyal viewers even more ways to engage with FOX News,” Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott and President Jay Wallace said in a joint statement.
NBC was able to finish first among both broadcast and cable networks despite the network’s tough year filled with scandals, including allegations that they killed Ronan Farrow’s investigation into Harvey Weinstein and a high-profile split from host Megyn Kelly.
Fox Business Network also finished 2018 with its second consecutive yearly win over CNBC, delivering its highest ratings ever in Business Day and Total Day.