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Fox News Tops Primetime in Third Quarter

Fox News Channel was the big ratings winner during the third quarter, leading all cable networks in primetime viewing.

Bolstered by a record-setting performance from its Aug. 6 GOP Presidential Debate — which finished as the most-watched show of the quarter, with 25 million viewers — the network averaged 1.9 million viewers to top all cable networks during the period of June 29 to Sept. 27, according to Nielsen.

Fox News’s ratings were also boosted by the performance of weeknight program The Kelly File, hosted by Megyn Kelly, which averaged 2.5 million viewers during the quarter, including 11.1 million viewers for a post-GOP Debate episode.

USA Network finished second with 1.8 million viewers, followed by TNT, Disney Channel and ESPN, which were all tied for third with 1.7 million viewers.

HGTV (1.5 million viewers); History and Discovery Channel (1.4 million each); TBS (1.3 million); and FX, AMC and Food Network rounded out the top 10 most-watched networks for the quarter.

Disney Channel and Nickelodeon were the most watched networks on a total-day basis, averaging 1.2 million viewers apiece. Adult Swim was third, followed by Fox News and Cartoon Network.

USA Network was the top primetime choice for viewers in several key demos, including adults 18-49 and 25-54, according to Nielsen.

Fox was easily the top-rated cable news network in primetime during the quarter, besting CNN’s 827,000 viewers and MSNBC’s 640,000 watchers, Nielsen said.

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.