Fox News was the most-watched network on basic cable for the 26th consecutive month in August while also topping its cable news competitors for the 200th straight month, according to data released Tuesday Nielsen Media Research.
The milestones for Fox News, which launched in 1996 and rose to the top of cable news in 2001, comes despite a strong finish to the month by rival MSNBC.
The progressive network surged over the past week following frenetic news events last Tuesday involving the president's former personal attorney Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenTrump Organization faces new scrutiny in New York civil probe Michael Cohen: Trump bluffing about another White House bid Eric Trump lawyer in New York attorney general's fraud case quits MORE's guilty plea to charges of bank and tax fraud and campaign finance law violations, and former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortDOJ investigating one-time Trump campaign adviser over alleged ties to Qatar: report Foreign lobbyists donated over M during 2020 election: report Former Mueller prosecutor representing Donoghue in congressional probes: report MORE being found guilty on charges of bank and tax fraud.
Fox News's "Hannity" was once again the most-watched program in cable news, delivering an average of 3.079 million total viewers per night.
"The Rachel Maddow Show" was second, with 2.882 million, followed by Fox News's "Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonCritics blast Tucker Carlson's immigration remarks amid border surge Stefanik in ad says Democrats want 'permanent election insurrection' Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right MORE Tonight" and "The Ingraham Angle," with 2.552 and 2.461 million viewers, respectively. MSNBC’s ”The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell" rounded out the top five, with 2.229 million viewers.
Overall, the top five networks on basic cable from a total viewership perspective were Fox News, MSNBC, HGTV, USA Network and the History Channel.
In the key 25- to 54-year-old demographic that advertisers covet most, the order of finish among the top shows in cable news doesn't change. Sean Hannity captured 582,000 viewers in that category per night on average. Maddow was second, with 557,000, followed by Carlson, with 483,000; Ingraham, with 466,000; and O'Donnell with 398,000.
When factoring in the Friday edition of Hannity's program, which is billed as "Hannity Special" in the month of August while a guest host fills in, Maddow edged "Hannity" 557,000 to 547,000 in the 9:00 p.m. hour that night in the younger demographic.
The top five networks for 25- to 54-year-old viewers were Fox News, MSNBC, Nickelodeon, HGTV and CNN.
All the cable news networks saw a decline in total day viewership when compared to August of 2017, with CNN seeing the most precipitous drop.
Fox News averaged 1.299 viewers in the total day category. When compared to the same month, Fox News was down 4 percent from last year. MSNBC finished second in total day, with 1.040 million viewers, with its audience also decreasing by 4 percent. CNN was third, with an average of 705,000 viewers in the category, and experienced a drop of 15 percent compared to August 2017.
In the 25–54 demographic, the drops were more pronounced across the board, with Fox News down 17 percent, averaging 252,000 viewers in the category. MSNBC averaged 194,000 in the younger demographic and was down 16 percent from this time last year. CNN was third with 209,000 viewers in the category while experiencing a 24 percent drop.
In prime time, Fox News and MSNBC saw slight gains in total viewers year-over-year, with CNN seeing a double-digit decline.
Fox News averaged 2.299 million total viewers, an increase of 4 percent. MSNBC was second with 1.845 million viewers, which was up 1 percent from August of last year. CNN, led by its top-rated program, "Cuomo Prime Time," which debuted in June, was third, with an average 1.052 million viewers, but was still down 12 percent when compared to last year.
In the advertiser-friendly 25–54 demographic in prime time, Fox was down 9 percent while still finishing first with 422,000 in the category. CNN took second, with 346,000 viewers in the demographic, but was down 17 percent from last year. MSNBC average 340,000 among those ages 25–54, but was also down 17 percent.