Nobody can touch Sean Hannity. Ratings data released Tuesday by Nielsen show the Fox News Channel host is unrivaled as the most-watched host in cable news, with 3.368 million total viewers — the only show on Fox News, MSNBC or CNN to break three million. It was Hannity’s best ratings performance since returning to the 9 p.m. time slot.
MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, which finished in second place, was the only show among the five highest-rated that did not air on Fox News Channel, with a total audience of 2.752 million.
Just last fall, Rachel Maddow led MSNBC to a major victory, finishing the third quarter in first place — the first MSNBC show to finish a quarter at No. 1 in the network’s history. Hannity trailed by just 30,000 total viewers at the time and led Maddow by 600,000 viewers in Q2 2018.
With Hannity leading the way, Fox News posted an average total audience of 2.447 million in prime time, ahead of MSNBC (1.736 million) and CNN (929,000), which was the only cable news network to see its audience drop in prime time, down 12%. By comparison, FNC was up 4%, and MSNBC grew by 6%.
Fox News has now been the highest-rated cable news channel for 66 consecutive quarters, posting wins in virtually all metrics: in prime time, in total day, and in terms of total viewers and viewers 25-54, the demographic group most coveted by advertisers. After Hannity and Maddow, the top-rated shows in cable news were Tucker Carlson Tonight (2,697,000 total viewers), The Ingraham Angle (2,654,000) and The Five (2,233,000).
The competition among viewers 25-54 was closer, with Hannity finishing first (685,000), followed by The Rachel Maddow Show (559,000), The Ingraham Angle (544,000), Tucker Carlson Tonight (541,000) and MSNBC’s Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell (419,000).
In the demo, all three networks saw declines in total day viewership, with CNN posting the biggest decline (down 23%) followed by Fox News (down 9%) and MSNBC (down 5%).