10/31/2017 12:54 EDT | Updated 10/31/2017 13:00 EDT

Fox's Sean Hannity tops cable news rankings

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

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

When Bill O'Reilly was working at Fox, there was no question 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.