Cable Out-Foxes Broadcast in ’14

It’s no secret that the Fox broadcast network’s entertainment programs, both veterans and rookies, have struggled this season ratings-wise. The network remains in fourth place and hasn’t been able to gain momentum this year in the persons 18-49 demo, one that has traditionally gravitated to Fox and allowed it to stand out against its older-skewing broadcast competitors.

But there’s reason for parent 21st Century Fox to be optimistic: The positive performance of its niche cable networks in 2014.

A report published by Ratings Intelligence on Dec. 10  examined this year’s performance of six Fox-owned cable programmers: FX, FXX, National Geographic Channels, Fox Sports 1 and Fox News Channel.

Of the six channels measured, Fox News Channel possesses the greatest average total viewership in primetime: 1.79 million total viewers -- gauged on a Nielsen live + 3 basis -- up slightly from the year-ago average of 1.78 million. Also, Fox Sports 1 has seen a boost in average total viewership as well, thanks to its live event programming including postseason baseball, college football, NASCAR and the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Despite the continued excellence of Sons of Anarchy, FX is down in primetime total viewership this year compared to last. FXX has more than doubled its primetime audience this year, thanks to marathons of The Simpsons and new episodes of The League. Season 10 of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia premieres Jan. 14 and should continue to boost the network’s total viewership averages in primetime.

Results for the National Geographic Channels were mixed. Nat Geo Wild has seen an improvement in total primetime viewership, while National Geographic Channel has seen a bit of a decline.