Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity tops cable news

FILE - In this March 18, 2016 file photo, Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity speaks during a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in Phoenix. Hannity's move to the 9 p.m. timeslot paid immediate dividends for the network, averaging 3.2 million viewers in October, topping Maddow's 2.5 million, the Nielsen company said.  (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)

FILE - In this March 18, 2016 file photo, Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity speaks during a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in Phoenix. Hannity's move to the 9 p.m. timeslot paid immediate dividends for the network, averaging 3.2 million viewers in October, topping Maddow's 2.5 million, the Nielsen company said. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)

NEW YORK — After the summer of Rachel Maddow, Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity ascended to the top of the cable news mountain.

Hannity’s move to the 9 p.m. timeslot paid immediate dividends for the network. President Donald Trump’s biggest cable news backer averaged 3.2 million viewers in October, topping Maddow’s 2.5 million, the Nielsen company said. Fox’s Tucker Carlson, in an earlier time slot, had 2.8 million viewers.

When Bill O’Reilly was working at Fox, there was no question for years who was the top person in cable television talk. His ouster in April following the revelation of sexual harassment settlements put that distinction up for grabs, and MSNBC’s Maddow took the title in July, August and September.

Fox’s Laura Ingraham made a strong debut Monday, reaching 3.27 million viewers at 10 p.m. and beating CNN and MSNBC in the time slot, Nielsen said.

It’s got a near-impossible act to live up to, but the Dodgers-Astros World Series is averaging 16.1 million viewers through five games for Fox, Nielsen said. The thrilling fifth game, won by the Astros in extra innings, was the most-watched contest with nearly 19 million viewers.

Last year’s Cubs-Indians series averaged 23.6 million viewers, primarily on the strength of an epic seventh game that was seen by 40.5 million, the most-watched World Series game since 1991.

Baseball led Fox to the easy win for the week in prime time, with the network averaging 13.2 million viewers. CBS had 7.8 million, NBC had 6.9 million, ABC had 4.5 million, Telemundo had 1.48 million, Univision had 1.47 million, the CW had 1.35 million and ION Television had 1.2 million.

Fox News Channel (2.294 million) and ESPN (2.291 million) were in a virtual tie atop the prime-time ratings for cable networks. MSNBC had 1.53 million, Hallmark had 1.4 million and USA had 1.32 million.

ABC’s “World News Tonight” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.4 million viewers. NBC’s “Nightly News” had 8 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 6.2 million.

NBC’s “Nightly News” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.2 million viewers. ABC’s “World News” was second with 7.5 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 6.4 million viewers.

For the week of Oct. 23-29, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: World Series, Game 5: L.A. Dodgers at Houston, Fox, 18.94 million; World Series, Game 3: L.A. Dodgers at Houston, Fox, 15.68 million; World Series, Game 2: Houston at L.A. Dodgers, Fox, 15.5 million; World Series, Game 4: L.A. Dodgers at Houston, Fox, 15.4 million; World Series, Game 1: Houston at L.A. Dodgers, Fox, 14.98 million; “World Series Game 5 Pregame,” Fox, 14.16 million; NFL Football: Pittsburgh at Detroit, NBC, 13.86 million; “The OT,” Fox, 13.6 million; “NCIS,” CBS, 13.3 million; “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 13.21 million.