NEW YORK – Fox News Channel's prime-time lineup gets plenty of attention, but, lately, the network's viewers have been drawn to an early-bird special.
In October, Fox's “The Five” eclipsed every show on cable news in popularity for the first time ever, the Nielsen company said. That's highly unusual for a program that airs at 5 p.m. Eastern and in the midafternoon on the West Coast; the number of people watching television typically increases in prime time after the workday is done.
Yet during October, “The Five” averaged 3.11 million viewers, narrowly beating Fox's “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” which had 3.08 million, Nielsen said.
The colorful, often sarcastic panel show features four people offering a conservative point of view on issues of the day, with one Democrat trying to get a few words in. Greg Gutfeld, Jesse Watters and Dana Perino are regular cast members, with one other conservative voice rotating in.
The show recently lost Juan Williams as a Democratic regular. Recent shows have cycled in Harold Ford, Jr., Geraldo Rivera or Jessica Tarlov as contrarian voices.
“The Five” started as a temporary fill-in a decade ago after Fox cut ties with Glenn Beck in the time slot but has proven durable. Fox tested the show in prime time a couple of years ago, but its audience didn't move with it.
All five episodes of “The Five” last week reached at least 3 million viewers, Nielsen said.
Behind a Thursday night NFL game and the Atlanta Braves' World Series-clinching win, the Fox broadcast network won the week in prime time. Fox averaged 6.9 million viewers, with NBC at 5.2 million, CBS at 4.9 million, ABC at 2.8 million, Univision at 1.3 million, Ion Television at 890,000 and Telemundo at 820,000.
Two season-opening episodes of the Kevin Costner-led Western “Yellowstone” on the Paramount cable network had larger audiences than any drama on broadcast network television last week, an impressive feat.
The first episode had nearly 8.4 million viewers Sunday night, Nielsen said.
ESPN was the most popular cable network in prime time, averaging 2.76 million viewers. Fox News had 2.74 million, Paramount had 1.64 million, Hallmark had 1.41 million and MSNBC had 1.1 million.
ABC's “World News Tonight” won the evening news ratings race, averaging 8 million viewers last week. NBC's “Nightly News” had 6.9 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 5 million.
For the week of Nov. 1-7, the top 20 programs, their networks and viewerships:
1. NFL Football: Tennessee at L.A. Rams, NBC, 14.21 million.
2. World Series: Atlanta at Houston, Game 6, Fox, 13.97 million.
3. NFL Football: N.Y. Giants at Kansas City, ESPN, 11.96 million
4. NFL Football: N.Y. Jets at Indianapolis, Fox, 11.65 million.
5. “NFL Pregame,” NBC, 11.37 million.
6. “The OT,” Fox, 10.97 million.
7. “Football Night in America, Part 3,” NBC, 8.69 million.
8. “Yellowstone” (Sunday, 8 p.m.), Paramount, 8.38 million.
9. “Yellowstone” (Sunday, 9:13 p.m.), Paramount, 7.84 million.
10. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 7.53 million.
11. “NFL Pregame,” Fox, 7.31 million.
12. “NCIS,” CBS, 7.28 million.
13. “Young Sheldon,” CBS, 7.12 million.
14. “Chicago Fire,” NBC, 7 million.
15. “FBI,” CBS, 6.99 million.
16. “Chicago Med,” NBC, 6.67 million.
17. “The Equalizer,” CBS, 6.64 million.
18. “The Voice” (Monday), NBC, 6.55 million.
19. “Blue Bloods,” CBS, 6.2 million.
20. “Ghosts,” CBS, 5.94 million.