Rachel Maddow is the new cable news ratings leader.
For the first time ever, MSNBC has won the week in both total viewers and the key news network demographic of adults 25–54 in primetime.
In the world of cable ratings, that’s a pretty huge upset. For years, MSNBC was the perpetual third-place network after Fox News and CNN. Yet Donald Trump’s election has helped drive more interest to the left-leaning channel, just as it’s helped Stephen Colbert’s Trump-mocking The Late Show on CBS. The downfall of Fox News’ former kingpin Bill O’Reilly has helped, too.
In fact, for the week of May 15 (whose final numbers are just now being put out by Nielsen), MSNBC was the most-watched network in all of cable for prime time behind TNT, which carried several NBA playoff games. MSNBC’s weekday prime averaged 2.44 million, just barely edging out Fox News’ 2.40 million and leaving CNN in last place with 1.65 million. Last week, MSNBC won the 25–54 demo, too, though landed in second place among total viewers. The Rachel Maddow Show, Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, and The 11th Hour all won their respective time periods in total viewers, with Maddow’s program ranking as the week’s top non-sports show on cable.
Also, Variety points out that Fox News was third place in primetime in the demo for five days straight, “the longest streak at No. 3 the network has had in that measure in 17 years.” (Italics ours). Fox News points out they’re still in the lead for the month overall, while CNN notes they remain in the lead during
Fox News points out they’re still in the lead for the month overall, while CNN notes they remain in the lead during daytime.