In yet another sign of how President Trump is boosting cable news ratings — as well as the incredible shrinking reach of some broadcasters — more people watched Fox News’ prime-time lineup last week than two of the Big Four entertainment networks. Per Nielsen, Rupert Murdoch’s right-leaning outlet pulled in just shy of 3.5 million viewers last week during prime time (8 to 11 p.m.), beating both ABC (3.2 million) and sibling network Fox Broadcasting (2.4 million). And it wasn’t just old people watching Fox News: The channel averaged a 0.6 rating among adults under 50 last week, beating cable peers such as FX and TNT while coming close to matching Fox Broadcasting’s weekly average of 0.7 in the younger demo.
A big reason for the Fox News surge was its coverage of Trump’s Tuesday speech to Congress, which drew over 10 million viewers and outrated every other network that night, both broadcast and cable. That one big night helped Fox News jump nearly 25 percent ahead of its week-ago average audience (2.7 million), and was likely decisive in pushing it ahead of two broadcast networks. ABC was also hurt by lousy tune-in for its gay rights miniseries When We Rise, which way underperformed compared to regular programming. While last week may have featured a perfect storm of factors that allowed Fox News to leapfrog its entertainment rivals, the Trump bump shows no sign of deflating. Last night, Fox News once again averaged more than 3 million viewers in prime time (nearly matching its broadcast sibling) while left-leaning Rachel Maddow continued her recent hot streak by pulling in 2.7 million viewers at 9 p.m.