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Refreshed Fox News prime-time schedule a ratings hit

The channel grabbed the most overall and key demographic viewers in prime-time among the top four cable news networks.

The channel grabbed the most overall and key demographic viewers in prime-time among the top four cable news networks.

The Fox News Channel’s relaunched prime-time schedule has proven to be a hit with cable news viewers, with its evening-hour shows topping the ratings in its first full week since it debuted.

The new line-up debuted last Monday and saw long-time Fox News personality Jesse Watters permanently clinch the 8 p.m. time slot that was vacated by former host Tucker Carlson in April. The network also shuffled two other programs — Laura Ingraham’s “The Ingraham Angle” and Greg Gutfled’s self-titled show “Gutfeld!” — to new time slots.

During the week, Fox News grabbed 2.131 million vewers and 202,000 in the demographic of adults aged 25 to 54 that is key to advertisers, according to Nielsen data reviewed by The Desk. The viewership figure, which averages the five-day period between Monday and Friday, was ahead of MSNBC and nearly triple that of CNN.

“The Ingraham Angle” averaged 1.9 million overall viewers and 163,000 in the key demographic during the week, while “Jesse Watters Primetime” was cable’s second-highest prime-time news and commentary program with an average of 2.3 million viewers and 198,000 in the key demographic, Nielsen data showed.

“Hannity,” hosted by long-time Fox personality Sean Hannity, averaged 2.4 million overall viewers and 206,000 key demographic viewers during the week. Fox has been promoting Hannity as cable’s longest-running, prime-time news and commentary program after Hannity overtook former CNN host Larry King for the honor.

Gutfeld continued to drive numbers for Fox News, averaging 1.9 million overall viewers and 241,000 viewers in the key demographic (Gutfled’s new book, “The King of Late Night,” debuted today on Amazon; the title refers to his former time slot at 11 p.m.). Gutfeld was a strong lead-in for Fox’s new prime-time news magazine program, “Fox News @ Night,” with host Trace Gallagher keeping the light on with more than 1 million overall viewers and 128,000 viewers in the key demographic.

Overall, in prime-time, Fox led with an average of 2.131 million overall viewers and 202,000 in the key demographic during prime-time. By comparison, MSNBC pulled in 1.394 million overall viewers and 143,000 key demographic viewers during the same time period. CNN managed 594,000 overall viewers and 112,000 key demographic viewers in prime-time.

The prime-time hour represents a block of programming that airs between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. Eastern Time. Most cable news outlets replay their programming for West Coast audiences, but the channels tend to draw their strongest audiences during East Coast-timed airings.

The Fox News Channel is part of Fox News Media, which includes the Fox Business Network, Fox News Audio, Fox Weather and Fox News Books. Fox News Media is a subsidiary of Fox Corporation.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).