Fox News finishes 2020 as most-watched cable news channel in history

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Fox News Channel dominated cable news in 2020, posting the highest-rated year in cable news history across both total day and prime-time viewership as "Hannity" became the most-watched cable news program.

Fox News also finished 2020 as the most-watched basic cable network for the fifth straight year, as viewers tuned in for the latest information on the presidential election, the coronavirus and everything in between.

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"This ratings milestone is a testament to the incredible work of the Fox News Channel team during a pivotal year," Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott said. "We are immensely proud and honored to once again serve as the destination for news and opinion in America."

"Tucker Carlson Tonight" and "Hannity" became the first programs in cable news history to finish a full year with over 4 million viewers.

FNC averaged 3.6 million viewers between the hours of 8-11 p.m. ET, marking the first time in cable news history that a network has surpassed 3 million viewers in primetime for an entire year. MSNBC averaged 2.1 million viewers to finish second, followed by CNN, ESPN and HGTV.

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Sean Hannity’s wildly popular 9 p.m. ET show averaged 4.4 million total viewers to finish No. 1 for the fourth consecutive year and with the highest-rated program average in cable news history. 

"Tucker Carlson Tonight" finished a close second with an average of 4.37 million total viewers. "Tucker" and "Hannity" became the first programs in cable news history to finish a full year averaging more than four million viewers.

"The Five" finished third with an average of 3.6 million total viewers despite airing at 5 p.m. ET, while "The Ingraham Angle" finished fourth. Host Laura Ingraham finished the year as the most-watched female host in cable news ahead of MSNBC'S Rachel Maddow, whose eponymous show came in fifth to end the year as the most popular non-Fox News program.

CNN’s most popular program was "Cuomo Prime Time," which averaged 1.8 million viewers to finish No. 21 behind 13 different Fox News programs and seven different MSNBC offerings.

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"Tucker Carlson Tonight" finished atop the key demographic of adults age 25-54, averaging 798,000 viewers in the category. "Hannity," The Ingraham Angle," "The Five" and "Special Report with Bret Baier" joined Hannity in the top five, while MSNBC’s "Maddow" finished seventh as the most-watched non-FNC program among the demo.

Fox News averaged 1.9 million total daytime viewers in 2020, besting MSNBC’s 1.2 million. CNN, HGTV and Hallmark Channel rounded out the top five in that category.

Fox News averaged 351,000 demo viewers for the year to finish No. 1 among all of basic cable. In prime time, FNC also scored the most-watched year in cable news history in the key demo, averaging 645,000 viewers aged 25 to 54.

"Fox & Friends," "America’s Newsroom," "Outnumbered," "Outnumbered Overtime," "The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino," "Your World with Neil Cavuto," "The Five," "Special Report with Bret Baier," "The Story with Martha MacCallum," "Tucker Carlson Tonight," "Hannity," "The Ingraham Angle," "Fox News @ Night with Shannon Bream" "Fox & Friends Weekend," "Cavuto Live," "Journal Editorial Report," "Fox Report with Jon Scott," "Watters’ World," "Justice with Judge Jeanine," "The Greg Gutfeld Show," "Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo," "MediaBuzz with Howard Kurtz," "The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton" and "Life, Liberty & Levin" all had their best years ever in either total viewers, the demo or both.

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In addition, Fox News’ coverage of the Sept. 29 presidential debate moderated by "Fox News Sunday" anchor Chris Wallace was the most-watched coverage of a presidential debate in cable news history and the highest-rated non-sports cable telecast of 2020.

Last week, Fox News Media announced plans to launch a new streaming service dedicated to weather in 2021.

FOX Weather is expected to launch in the third quarter of the new year with the FOX Weather App, along with a website and streaming service that will offer local, regional and national updates and information on all things weather.

All ratings data courtesy of Nielsen Media Research.

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