With one week left in the 2016 cable ratings race, it looks like viewers have voted for Fox News as the most watched cable network in primetime, according to Nielsen.
Fox News, on the strength of its 2016 Presidential election coverage, is averaging 2.4 million viewers in primetime through Dec. 16, up 36% from 2015, besting last year’s ratings winner ESPN, which was down 11% to 1.9 million viewers, according to Nielsen.
Fox News is also poised to take cable top honors on a 24-hour basis with 1.4 million viewers, according to Nielsen.
The turbulent, news generating 2016 political campaign also turned out to be a ratings boondoggle for CNN, which broke into the top 10 with an average 1.2 million viewers in primetime, up a whopping 77% over 2015, said Nielsen.
USA Network is on pace to finish third in the primetime ratings with 1.6 million viewers (down 8% from last year), which network officials claim will make USA the most watched ad-supported, entertainment-based network in primetime for the 11th straight year.
Outside of cable news nets Fox News and CNN, HGTV was the only network currently in the top 10 to post a year-to-year ratings increase, with a 2% audience uptick to 1.58 million viewers compared to 2015, according to Nielsen.
The smarter way to stay on top of the multichannel video marketplace. Sign up below.
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.