Fox News Channel — and other cable news networks — witnessed sharply higher TV viewership in the first quarter, with Fox topping all cable networks in many categories.
Fox News Channel soared 38% in total prime-time viewers to average a Nielsen 2.37 million viewers. A year ago, it had 1.74 million in prime time, fourth-highest among all cable networks. Fox also bested all networks in total day viewership with 1.35 million.
Cable news networks witnessed higher TV viewership in the period, largely due to contentious and entertaining presidential primary and debate programming.
CNN more than tripled its viewership in prime-time — up 165% to 1.42 million viewers versus 535,000 for the same period a year ago. CNN, which was in 30th place among all prime-time networks, moved up to sixth place overall.
MSNBC grew 66% to 888,000 prime-time viewers to land in 16th place versus 536,000 prime-time viewers and its position in 29th place in the first quarter of 2015.
Only three of the top 12 cable networks grew in TV viewership. Those non-cable news networks include HGTV and FX.
HGTV landed in fourth place, up 13.5% to 1.69 million prime-time viewers. It was in sixth place a year ago with 1.47 million viewers.
FX was virtually flat, up 0.09% to 1.096 million.
After Fox News, ESPN was in second place at 2.07 million, down 5.7% for the first quarter. TBS was down 13% to 1.73 million, followed by USA, losing 9% to 1.64 million; Discovery, off 7% to 1.36 million; TNT, giving back 10% to 1.31 million; AMC, falling 13% to 1.27 million; and History, 15% lower to 1.24 million.