Here Are Cable News Ratings for August 2023
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Here Are Cable News Ratings for August 2023

Jun 29, 2023

By A.J. Katz on Aug. 29, 2023 - 2:51 PM

Below are August 2023 Nielsen ratings for Fox News, MSNBC and CNN, followed by a duo of full basic cable network rankers.

Fox News Channel:

After a rough spring, Fox News has seen its audience begin to return this summer. The growth in August was capped off by a highly-rated first Republican primary debate of the 2024 presidential election season this past Wednesday, Aug. 23.

According to Nielsen live plus same day data for the month of August 2023, Fox News Channel was among basic cable’s top three networks in myriad measurements. The network averaged 2.03 million total primetime viewers, No. 1 on all of basic cable, and 251,000 adults 25-54 in primetime, No. 3 on all of basic cable.

Fox’s 2.03 million total primetime viewer average is +29% from what the channel averaged in July 2023, with that gain primarily driven by the GOP primary debate broadcast, which drew more than 11 million viewers to Fox News Channel (an additional 1.7 million watched the debate on FBN). The network’s 251,000 A25-54 average in primetime is a whopping +70% from what the network averaged in July.

Fox News also averaged 1.17 million total day viewers (also No. 1 on all of basic cable) and 144,000 adults 25-54 in total day (No. 2 on all of basic cable). The 1.17 million is +9% from July, while the 144,000 A25-54 is +18% from July.

The year-over-year ratings trend for Fox News remains quite poor, despite the highly-rated primetime debate. FNC shed -21% in total day viewers—and -32% in total day demo—along with a -13% in total primetime viewers and a -19% drop in the primetime demo relative to August 2022.

Despite those year-over-year losses, Fox News can still claim 30 consecutive months as the top-rated cable news network in total viewers and among Adults 25-54.


The more legal problems former President Donald Trump has, the more MSNBC’s audience grows. That trend continued in August 2023. Breaking news coverage and analysis surrounding the federal indictments of Trump in the January 6th investigation and the 2020 Georgia election probe lifted the network to its most-watched month in more than two years.

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, MSNBC averaged more than 1.55 million total viewers in primetime, No. 2 overall behind Fox News and +38% from its July primetime average. The network also averaged 169,000 A25-54 in primetime (No. 10 on basic cable), which is +56% from July.

In addition to primetime viewing, MSNBC averaged 952,000 total day viewers (No. 2 on basic cable), +32% from July, and 108,000 A25-54 viewers in total day, which is +44% from July, and tied with TBS for No. 5 on all of basic cable.

MSNBC also managed to gain viewers from the year-ago month, no easy feat in an era of shrinking linear TV usage. Relative to Aug. 2022, the network gained +20% in total primetime viewers, +26% in the primetime demo, +18% in total day viewers and +21% in the total day demo.

MSNBC beat CNN in the primetime demo for the sixth consecutive month and in total primetime viewers for the 31st consecutive month.


CNN, like MSNBC, gained viewers in August 2023 from its in-depth coverage and analysis concerning the Trump Fulton County, Ga., grand jury indictment.

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data for August, CNN averaged 723,000 total primetime viewers (No. 5 on basic cable) and 545,000 total day viewers (No. 3 on basic cable). The network also averaged 147,000 adults 25-54 in primetime (No. 15 on basic cable) and 105,000 adults 25-54 in total day, No. 8 on basic cable.

When compared with July, CNN gained +35% in total primetime viewers—and +41% among adults 25-54, +28% in total day viewers—and +33% among adults 25-54 in total day. Relative to the year-ago month (Aug. 2022), the network is still down a bit, -1% in total primetime viewers—and -4% in the primetime demo, -4% in total day viewers—and -5% in the total day demo.

August 2023 cable news network ratings (Nielsen live plus same day data)

Here are the full ad-supported basic cable network rankers for August 2023:

August 2023 (Total Viewers)

August 2023 (Adults 25-54)

Fox News Channel:MSNBCDonald TrumpCNNAugust 2023 cable news network ratings (Nielsen live plus same day data)2,029,000251,0001,170,000144,000