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News Ratings: Fox News Tops Cable, ABC and NBC Keep It Close

The week of Nov. 3 was a big one for the nightly news programs and cable news channels, with the presidential election Tuesday and intense interest on what it means in the days following.

Among the nightly news programs, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams and ABC World News with Charles Gibson kept it close, with Nightly News eking out ABC in total viewers and in the key 25-54 demo.

NBC drew 9.35 million total viewers compared to ABC’s 9.28, with each program drawing a 2.5 rating/9 share in the demo.

Due to reduced coverage, Nielsen’s data for ABC and CBS’ weekly average excludes Tuesday, while NBC’s includes it. When Tuesday is excluded to even the playing field, ABC World News just barely tops NBC Nightly News in the demo, 2.5/9 to 2.4/9.

CBS finished third in both total viewers and the demo, drawing just over 6 million total viewers and a 1.6/6 in the demo.

On the cable side, Fox News was not only the top cable news channel, but the top network on all of cable in primetime, and second only to Nickelodeon in total day. That was the second consecutive week Fox News topped all of cable, bolstered by the election.

For the week Fox News averaged just over 3.5 million viewers in primetime and 1.66 million in total day. CNN was also the beneficiary of an election boost, becoming the second most watched cable network in primetime for the week, with nearly 3.3 million viewers in primetime and 1.63 million in total day.

MSNBC drew nearly 2.2 million total viewers in primetime, and just over 1 million in total day.

On the business news networks, Fox Business got some good news election day, with the network pulling within one ratings point of CNBC. FBN drew a .2 household rating from 9-11 p.m. Tuesday, compared to CNBC’s .3 in the same slot. FBN has made it close with CNBC a few times in the past year, with FBN’s The Dave Ramsey Show topping the competition in the 25-54 demo on a few occasions.

While FBN kept it close in the household rating, CNBC still topped the network in total and demo viewers by a significant margin, drawing more than twice as many in both categories.