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News Networks Top First Quarter Cable Rating Charts

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(Image credit: MSNBC)

Viewers continued to tune into cable news networks during the first quarter of 2021 as Fox News, CNN and MSNBC led both the primetime and total day charts during the period, according to Nielsen. 

The three major cable news networks all tied as the most watched cable networks on a total day basis for the period of Dec. 28, 2020 to March 28, 2021, averaging 1.3 million viewers each, according to Nielsen.

HGTV finished fourth with 666,000 viewers, followed by ESPN with 618,000 viewers.

With regards to primetime, Fox News was the most-watched network in primetime averaging 2.4 million viewers, with MSNBC finishing second with 2.2 million viewers, followed by CNN’s 1.9 million watchers. ESPN was the fourth most watched network for the quarter with 1.4 million viewers, followed by HGTV with 1.1 million viewers.

TBS and TNT tied with 1.1 million viewers, while History (934,000) and Discovery Channel (826,000) rounded out the top 10 most watched networks for the quarter.

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.