Fox News Grabs 2020 Cable Ratings Crown

Fox News tops 2020 cable ratings charts
Fox News tops 2020 cable ratings charts (Image credit: Fox News Channel )

Fox News was 2020’s most watched cable network in both primetime and total day as viewers gravitated to news content during a year dominated by the pandemic, social justice protests and the Presidential election.

Fox News averaged 3.5 million viewers in primetime for the period of Dec. 30, 2019 to Dec. 27, 2020, the largest primetime audience for a cable news network in history, according to Nielsen.

“This ratings milestone is a testament to the incredible work of the Fox News Channel team during a pivotal year,” said Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott in a statement. “We are immensely proud and honored to once again serve as the destination for news and opinion in America.”

MSNBC (2.1 million viewers) and CNN (1.7 million) finished second and third, respectively, giving the major cable news network a sweep of the top primetime slots. 

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ESPN finished fourth with 1.5 million viewers, followed by HGTV and TLC, which tied with 1.1 million viewers. The rest of the top 10 most watched cable networks include Hallmark Channel and TBS (tied with 1 million), TNT (923,000) and History (890,000).

On a total day basis, Fox News set a ratings record for a cable news service with 1.8 million viewers to lead all cable networks, followed by MSNBC (1.2 million viewers) and CNN (1.1 million viewers.)

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.