September 1, 2015 / 11:35 PM / 3 years ago

Fox News Channel tops basic cable in August prime-time ratings

Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly poses on the set of his show "The O'Reilly Factor" in New York March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) - Twenty-First Century Fox Inc’s Fox News Channel scored the highest prime-time ratings among all basic cable television networks in August, according to Nielsen data, led by the Republican presidential candidates’ debate and anchor Megyn Kelly’s “The Kelly File.”

Fox News Channel’s total viewers rose 34 percent to average roughly 2.4 million from a year earlier, the data showed. Of the total, 524,000 were ages 25 to 54, the key group for advertisers on cable news.

Sean Hannity’s show “Hannity” delivered its highest-rated month ever, both among 25-to-54-year-olds and in total viewers. It drew 1.8 million viewers overall.

The Republican debate on Aug. 6 pulled in 24 million viewers, the biggest audience in the history of the Fox News Channel. Other major news events during the month included the stock market plunge and a shooting in Virginia.

Total viewership for prime-time programs “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren,” “The O’Reilly Factor,” “The Kelly File” and “Hannity” rose in double-digits from a year earlier.

It was the second time that Fox News Channel held the top spot in basic cable monthly ratings this year.

Reporting by Lehar Maan in Bengaluru and Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles; Editing by Leslie Adler

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