NEW YORK, N.Y. – The television ratings story was a tale of two Foxes.
Fox News Channel was the highest-rated cable network for the fifth straight week last week, the Nielsen company said. The network has reached that milestone only once before, during the breakout of the Iraq War more than a decade ago.
Post-labour Day, and with the college football season about to begin in earnest, the streak is likely to end. But it was a reflection of the strong interest in politics last month during the Summer of Trump, which Fox News covered heavily even as it became involved in the story given Trump’s unhappiness with debate inquisitor Megyn Kelly.
Fox News’ average of 1.82 million viewers in prime time was less than 200,000 fewer than the much bigger Fox broadcast network had in what is likely to rank as that network’s low-water mark.
The season has not been kind in the ratings to Fox, which hasn’t minted a summertime hit along the lines of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” or “American Ninja Warriors.” Only “Master Chef,” with 4.7 million viewers last week, recorded much of a pulse.
Behind the two summer competition shows and a NASCAR race, NBC was the most-watched network, averaging 5.4 million viewers in prime time last week. CBS had 4.8 million, ABC had 4.1 million, Univision had 2.2 million, Fox had 2 million, Telemundo had 1.5 million, the CW had 1.1 million and ION Television had 1 million.
After Fox News, the top cable networks were ESPN, with a 1.77 million average, the Disney Channel with 1.53 million, USA with 1.452 million and HGTV with 1.448 million.
NBC’s “Nightly News” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.3 million viewers. ABC’s “World News Tonight” was second with 7.7 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 6.5 million viewers.
For the week of Aug. 31-Sept. 6, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: “America’s Got Talent” (Tuesday), NBC, 10.55 million; “America’s Got Talent” (Wednesday), NBC, 9.29 million; College Football: Wisconsin vs. Alabama, ABC, 7.97 million; “NCIS,” CBS, 7.86 million; “American Ninja Warrior,” NBC, 7.32 million; “60 Minutes,” CBS, 6.88 million; “Big Brother” (Wednesday), CBS, 6.58 million; “NCIS: Los Angeles,” CBS, 6.09 million; “Zoo,” CBS, 6.02 million; Auto Racing: NASCAR Sprint Cup, Darlington, NBC, 5.92 million.
ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.