Fox News saw a big surge in its ratings following the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation fight and it has continued as the network has focused much of its attention on the migrant caravan ahead of the midterm elections. For the month of October, this resulted in Fox outdrawing its cable news competitors combined while boasting the top five cable news programs.
According to Nielsen, Fox News averaged 1.685 million total viewers and 332,000 in the key 25-54 demographic in total day. MSNBC totaled 909,000 viewers and 161,000 in the key demo while CNN nabbed 689,000 viewers overall and 201,000 in the demographic. In total viewership, Fox was up 16 percent compared to October 2017.
In the 8 PM to 11 PM primetime slot, FNC nabbed 2.829 million total viewers (up 25 percent) and a demo audience of 540,000 (up 13 percent). MSNBC attracted 1.575 million viewers overall (no change) and 281,000 in the key demo (down 19 percent). CNN pulled in a total audience of 931,000 (up one percent) and 290,000 demo viewers (down 11 percent).
The five most-watched shows in cable news belonged to Fox. Hannity led the way in both total viewership (3.495 million) and the demo (680,000). Tucker Carlson Tonight was second across the board, averaging 3.231 million total viewers and 642,000 in the key demo. The Ingraham Angle placed third in the demo (585,000) and overall viewership (2.973 million).
One notable absence from the top five was MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show. It was just a few weeks ago that the primetime liberal stalwart had its best ever week while leading cable in total viewers and even topping all of broadcast television one night in the midst of bad Trump news. But with conservative viewers flocking to Fox this month, Maddow ended up finishing sixth in total viewership (2.577 million) and seventh in the demo (486,000).
On the business networks, Fox Business came out on top in total day (152,000) and business day (217,000) total viewership, beating CNBC’s 140,000 total day and 177,000 business day numbers.
While October was all about Fox and points to another big ratings year for the conservative-leaning news network, MSNBC is still on pace to have its best ever year. Year-to-date, MSNBC is up ten percent in primetime, 17 percent in dayside, and 11 percent in total day compared to 2017.