Fox News Leads Cable Primetime, Total-Day Ratings

Cable News Leader Enjoys Its Best Week Since 2008 Election Cycle

Buoyed by its coverage of the second Presidential debate, Fox News Channel was the most-watched cable network last week in primetime and total-day.

The cable news sector leader, with this political season moving toward its climax, averaged 3.68 million viewers in primetime from Oct. 15 through Oct. 21, according to Nielsen live + same day data. That was FNC’s best period among total viewers since the week Sept. 29 through Oct. 5, 2008, which included the Vice Presidential debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin.

Gauged on a total-day basis, FNC averaged 1.67 million viewers last week, its best count since the week of the 2008 Republican National Convention.

The network’s numbers were boosted by the 11.08 million who watched the Oct. 16 town hall square-off between President Obama and Mitt Romney, which ranked as the second-most-watched show on cable last week behind ESPN’s 12.8 million for its Denver Broncos-San Diego Chargers Monday Night Football coverage on Oct. 15.

FNC’s Oct. 16 debate telecast trailed only the aforementioned Biden-Palin forum that drew just under 11.1 million. Both of those telecasts were surpassed by the third Presidential debate on Oct. 22 that garnered 11.5 million watchers, the most in the network's 16-year history.

Relative to primetime, FNC outperformed perennial fall leader ESPN (2.75 million), USA (2.35 million), TBS (2.26 million) and Disney Channel (2.19 million).

Over the 24-hour measure, FNC topped Nickelodeon (1.63 million), Disney Channel (1.47 million), Adult Swim (1.30 million) and ESPN (1.26 million).