TV Ratings: Megyn Kelly Bests Bill O'Reilly in August, Topping Cable News in Key Demo

Fox News
Megyn Kelly

Buoyed by the GOP debate, Fox News' 'The Kelly File' enjoyed its third month ever at No. 1 among adults 25-54.

Donald Trump might have issues with Megyn Kelly, but viewers evidently don't. If August is any indication, her Kelly File is shaping up to be the cable news destination for coverage of the 2016 election.

Kelly had the highest-rated cable news show for the month, even with her weeklong vacation. Buoyed by the record-breaking showcase of Fox News Channel's GOP debate and her 11 p.m. telecast that night, she outpaced typical victor Bill O'Reilly for only the third full month since she shifted to her high-profile primetime slot in late 2013.

The 9 p.m. show averaged 566,000 adults 25-54, a 41 percent jump and safely above O'Reilly's 541,000 in the news demographic. With the debate, their respective showings and Sean Hannity's — the host welcomed one of the month's higher-profile visits from Trump — FNC primetime was up a whopping 64 percent in the demo from August 2014. (All told, it was the net's highest-rated month since November 2012.)

O'Reilly could not be unseated among total viewers. A narrow second place among total viewers, up 28 percent to 2.74 million viewers, The Kelly File's audience was outpaced by The O'Reilly Factor's by roughly 250,000. 

The rest of the cable news landscape saw rankings unchanged, though CNN did lose some of its primetime steam — seeing a 17 percent year-over-year primetime ratings drop in August after months of growth. MSNBC, still No. 3, was down by only 7 percent.

And while the post-debate circus that's dominated the media played a large factor in all of August's ratings, coverage of the 2016 presidential election is not yet wall-to-wall. The stock market plunge, the Virginia shooting and the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's devastation in New Orleans all played prominently in the last week of the month.