Weekly Cable Ratings: Fox News Rides Republican Debate to a Primetime Win

Fox News Republican Presidential Primary Debate
Candidates on stage during the Sept. 27 Fox Business-Univision GOP presidential debate. (Image credit: Fox News )

Fox News Channel barely held off a football-heavy ESPN to take cable primetime ratings honors during the last week of September. 

Fox News averaged 2.17 million viewers during the week of September 25-October 1, besting ESPN’s 2.13 million, according to Nielsen numbers supplied by Fox News. The news network was bolstered by its coverage of the September Republican presidential primary debate, which drew nearly 6.6 million viewers on Fox News in a simulcast with Fox Business Network and Univision. 

MSNBC was third for the week with 1.5 million viewers, followed by HGTV with 743,000 viewers and Hallmark Channel with 702,000 watchers. TLC was No. 6 with 606,000 viewers, followed by INSP (592,000 viewers), CNN (574,000), TBS (559,000) and USA Network (549,000). 

On a 24-hour basis, Fox News averaged 1.1 million viewers for its second consecutive win in the category. MSNBC (943,000 viewers), ESPN (808,000), CNN (477,000), and HGTV (426,000) rounded out the top five most-watched networks for the week, Nielsen reported.  

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.