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Fox News tops broadcast networks for first time in 3rd quarter

Fox News topped broadcast networks ABC, CBS and NBC in total viewers for the first time in the third quarter of 2020 and was the most-watched network on television, according to Nielsen Media Research.

The numbers come during a particularly heavy news cycle that included the COVID-19 pandemic, the Democratic and Republican national conventions, unrest in U.S. cities and a brewing Supreme Court battle following the death of Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgMcConnell backs Garland for attorney general A powerful tool to take on the Supreme Court — if Democrats use it right Fauci says he was nervous about catching COVID-19 in Trump White House MORE.

The network averaged 3.51 million viewers in prime-time in July, August and September, an increase of 44 percent when compared to the same quarter in 2019.

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Fox's "Hannity" finished the quarter as the most-watched show in cable news, averaging approximately 4.45 million viewers. "Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonTucker Carlson bashes CNN, claims it's 'more destructive' than QAnon Former Trump officials eye bids for political office Jill Biden picks up where she left off MORE Tonight" was second with 4.35 million viewers, followed by "The Five" with 3.48 million, and "The Ingraham Angle" with 3.43 million viewers.

MSNBC also saw record numbers in the third quarter, scoring 2.2 million total viewers in prime-time for the first time in the network's 24-year history.

"The Rachel MaddowRachel Anne MaddowTim Ryan: Prosecutors reviewing video of Capitol tours given by lawmakers before riot League of Conservation Voters adds racial justice issues to 2020 congressional scorecard Newly released footage shows Schumer's 'near miss' with Capitol rioters MORE Show" was again MSNBC's top-rated show, averaging 3.3 million viewers to finish fifth overall in cable news.

MSNBC also set a record, with the network’s prime-time programs drawing 2.2 million total viewers, the network’s best delivery in the time period.

CNN finished third among the three major cable news networks with an average of about 1.53 million viewers, an increase of 56 percent when compared to the same quarter last year.

The network's most-watched program was "Chris CuomoChris CuomoTrump to reemerge on political scene at CPAC Kinzinger: GOP will 'be a minority party forever' if we keep supporting Trump Cruz blames criticism of Cancun trip on media 'Trump withdrawal' MORE Primetime," which averaged 1.72 million viewers in finishing 20th overall in cable news.

In the younger demographic of viewers aged 25-54 that advertisers are most attracted by, Tucker Carlson finished first with an average of 781,000 viewers. Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityCruz blames criticism of Cancun trip on media 'Trump withdrawal' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Tanden's odds plummet to lead OMB Former Trump officials eye bids for political office MORE was second with 775,000 viewers in the category, followed by Laura IngrahamLaura Anne IngrahamHaley isolated after Trump fallout Tucker Carlson to produce video podcasts for Fox Nation Rush Limbaugh dead at 70 MORE and "The Five," with 624,000 and 527,000 viewers, respectively. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow rounded out the top five with 504,000.