The Desk appreciates the support of readers who purchase products or services through links on our website. Learn more...

Fox News Channel beats CNN, MSNBC in February ratings

The channel was the most-watched news network on cable TV for the 36th straight month.

The channel was the most-watched news network on cable TV for the 36th straight month.

Greg Gutfeld hosts the prime-time comedy talk show "Gutfeld!" on the Fox News Channel. (Photo courtesy Fox News Media)
Greg Gutfeld hosts the prime-time comedy talk show “Gutfeld!” on the Fox News Channel. (Photo courtesy Fox News Media)

The Fox News Channel was cable television’s most-watched news network for the 36th straight month, notching higher total day and key demographic viewers throughout the month of February when compared to its two closest competitors, according to Nielsen data.

The channel was also the most-watched in prime-time across cable news for the 37th straight month, the Nielsen ratings showed, with programs like “Hannity,” “The Ingraham Angle,” “Jesse Watters Primetime” and “Gutfeld!” drawing millions of viewers to the network during the week.

Fox News grew its television audience 8 percent during the day among total viewers and 5 percent in prime-time among the key demographic of adults ages 25 to 54 years old (A25-54), a group that is most attractive to advertisers, according to Nielsen data. The increases were compared to the prior month.

The network grabbed an average of 1.3 million viewers during the total day, including 161,000 in the A25-54 group, Nielsen data showed. It was the only news network to grab over 1 million viewers during an average broadcast day.

By comparison, MSNBC averaged around 852,000 total day viewers, while CNN averaged around 479,000 total day viewers.

In prime-time, Fox News saw an average of over 2 million viewers tune in on a daily basis, compared to MSNBC’s 1.3 million and around 601,000 at CNN.

Fox News also had the top five most-watched programs across cable news among total viewers in February, among them:

  1. The Five – 3.11 million
  2. Jesse Watters Primetime – 2.81 million
  3. Hannity – 2.362 million
  4. The Ingraham Angle – 2.294 million
  5. Special Report with Brit Hume – 2.292 million

The network’s programs also saw high ratings across the A25-54 demo, with the top 5 cable news programs among that group:

  1. Gutfeld! – 325,000 viewers
  2. The Five – 283,000 viewers
  3. Jesse Watters Primetime – 269,000 viewers
  4. Hannity – 248,000 viewers
  5. The Ingraham Angle – 222,000 viewers

The network provided additional information on how its weekday, weekend and prime-time programming fared over the competition:

FNC’s The Five, which has been the number one show in cable news for over nine consecutive quarters, continued its streak with total viewers, securing 3.1 million viewers and 283,000 with 25-54 demo. Evening newscast Special Report with Bret Baier (weeknights, 6 PM/ET), named the most reliable program in cable news according to Ad Fontes, averaged 2.3 million viewers and 220,000 in the 25-54 demo. This month, Baier presented an exclusive interview with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the first from the front lines of the war in Ukraine.

At 10 PM/ET Gutfeld!, which is the most “DVR’d” show in cable news among younger 25-54 demo viewers, made its mark as the highest-rated program among both younger 25-54 and 18-49 demos. Gutfeld delivered 2.2 million viewers and 325,000 in 25-54 demo and 203,000 in 18-49 demo. Gutfeld! has notably remained the most watched program in broadcast and cable among the competition, beating The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Tonight Show, Late Night with Seth Meyers and CBS’ After Midnight with total viewership. With the return of the much touted The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Gutfeld topped Stewart each week by double- and triple-digit percentages.

Leading FNC’s prime-time lineup at 7 PM/ET, The Ingraham Angle garnered 2.3 million viewers and 222,000 in the 25-54 demo. Following at 8 PM/ET, Jesse Watters Primetime delivered 2.8 million viewers, 269,000 with 25-54 demo and 184,000 in 18-49, making it the highest-rated program in prime-time among viewers. FNC’s Hannity (9 PM/ET) scored 2.4 million viewers and 248,000 in the 25-54 demo, outpacing the competition on MSNBC and CNN in both categories. Wrapping up the night, FOX News @ Night, anchored by Trace Gallagher in its 11 PM/ET time slot, delivered 1.3 million viewers and 195,000 with A25-54.

From 5-6 AM/ET, FOX & Friends First delivered 569,000 viewers while FNC’s signature morning show FOX & Friends (weekdays, 6-9 AM/ET) finished February with over 1.1 million viewers and 151,000 in the demo, notching 36 consecutive months atop the 25-54 demo. FNC’s daytime lineup, kicking off with two-hour morning news program, America’s Newsroom with Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino (weekdays, 9-11 AM/ET), drew 1.6 million viewers and 196,000 in the 25-54 demo. The Faulkner Focus at 11 AM/ET, anchored by Harris Faulkner, also attracted 1.6 million viewers and 205,000 in the 25-54 demo and bested CNN and MSNBC across the board. At 12 PM/ET, Outnumbered earned 1.7 million viewers and saw 209,000 in the 25-54 demo. FNC’s Outnumbered continues to outpace the broadcast competition, beating both NBC’s The Kelly Clarkson Show and CBS’ The Drew Barrymore Show with total viewers. From 1-3 PM/ET, America Reports with John Roberts and Sandra Smith garnered 1.6 million viewers and 178,000 in the 25-54 demo. At 3 PM/ET, anchor and executive editor Martha MacCallum’s The Story averaged 1.5 million viewers and 169,000 in the 25-54 demo, while Your World with Neil Cavuto at 4 PM/ET nabbed 1.5 million viewers and 167,000 in the 25-54 category for the month.

FNC continued to excel against the competition on weekends throughout the month, outpacing CNN and MSNBC yet again across total day and primetime with viewers and winning every hour in total viewers on Saturdays. Cavuto Live (Saturday, 10 AM-12PM/ET) was the most-watched of the day in both categories, with 1.4 million viewers and 175,000 with 25-54 demo. Following, FOX & Friends Saturday (6 AM – 10 AM/ET) was the second most-watched cable news program of the day in the 25-54 demo, netting 1.2 million viewers and 169,000 in the 25-54 demo. Life, Liberty & Levin, helmed by Mark Levin, garnered 1.3 million viewers and 115,000 in the 25-54 demo. FNC’s One Nation with Brian Kilmeade scored 1.1 million viewers and 115,000 in the 25-54 demo. Additionally, FOX Report with Jon Scott (weekends, 6 PM/ET) averaged over 1.2 million viewers and 132,000 with A25-54, while The Big Weekend Show drew 1.3 million viewers and 144,000 A25-54. FOX News Live garnered 1.1 million viewers and 128,000 viewers in the 25-54 demo.

In the second month of the newly Jimmy Failla-helmed FOX News Saturday Night (10-11 PM/ET), the program continued to excel among its competition. In total viewership, Failla notched nearly 1 million viewers and 124,000 in the 25-54 demo. Failla beats CNN (350,000 P2+ and 61,000 A25-54) and MSNBC (556,000 P2+ and 48,000 A25-54) more than combined in total viewers and in the 25-54 demo. Notably, Saturday, February 24th marked Failla’s highest rated show yet with 1.2 million viewers and 174,000 in the 25-54 demo, rising 48% in total viewers and 87% in the demo versus prior week.

On Sundays, FNC’s Sunday Morning Futures at 10AM/ET hosted by Maria Bartiromo ranked first across with viewers averaging 1.7 million viewers and 189,000 with the 25-54 demo. MediaBuzz, hosted by Howard Kurtz at 11 AM/ET, delivered 1.3 million viewers and 146,000 in the 25-54 demo. Meanwhile, FNC’s Life, Liberty and Levin notched nearly 1.5 million viewers and 118,000 in the 25-54 demo. FNC’s Sunday Night in America with Trey Gowdy attracted an audience of 1.2 million viewers and 89,000 in 25-54 demo. Additionally, The Big Weekend Show scored 1.3 million total viewers and 122,000 in the 25-54 demo, while FOX & Friends Sunday notched over 1.1 million viewers and ranked second in the younger demo with 152,000 viewers in 25-54.

The Fox News Channel is operated by Fox News Media, a subsidiary of Fox Corporation.

Get stories like these in your inbox, plus free breaking news alerts on business and policy matters involving media and tech.

Get stories like these in your inbox, plus free breaking news alerts on business and policy matters involving media and tech.

Photo of author

About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 10 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
Home » News » Industries » Television » Fox News Channel beats CNN, MSNBC in February ratings