MSNBC 2011: Holds #2 In Primetime, But Slips To #3 In Total Day

By Merrill Knox Comment

Despite falling to #3 in total day viewers, primetime remained a source of strength for MSNBC in 2011. The network finished in the #2 spot, with almost all primetime programs showing ratings growth.

The ratings for 2011:

  • Primetime (Mon-Sun): 775,000 total viewers / 242,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 435,000 total viewers / 148,000 A25-54

With two exceptions, MSNBC’s primetime programs are all up for the year in both total viewers and the demographic. Both hours that are down — 6pmET and 8pmET — were the focal point of major changes in programming MSNBC made in 2011. After the January departure of Keith Olbermann, the former “Countdown” timeslot was home to both “Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” and “The Ed Show” this year. Despite the success MSNBC saw from swapping the programs in October, the hour is down -12% in total viewers and -20% in the demographic compared to 2010.

The other major change MSNBC made in primetime this year was the addition of “PoliticsNation,” hosted by Al Sharpton, at 6pmET. Compared to 2010, the 6pm hour is down slightly but essentially flat: -1% in total viewers and -2% in the demographic. “PoliticsNation” officially debuted August 29, and Sharpton guest-hosted for the better part of the summer.

“Morning Joe” showed significant year-over-year growth in 2011, posting double-digit gains in both ratings measurements: +17% in total viewers and +25% in the A25-54 demographic.

MSNBC’s release is after the jump.



MSNBC Tops CNN in Primetime Among Both Total Viewers and A25-54

“Morning Joe” has Best Year Ever

NEW YORK – December 19, 2011 – MSNBC ends 2011 on a high note, topping CNN in primetime among total viewers and A25-54. This marks the third year in a row that MSNBC has beaten CNN in primetime in the demo. 2011 marked “Morning Joe’s” best year ever and MSNBC topped CNN in every hour from 5p – 10p ET for the year.

The following are MSNBC ratings highlights for 2011 (data through December 15, 2011):

· MSNBC ranked #2 in primetime and beat CNN for the third year in a row among A25-54 and for the second consecutive year in total viewers topping them in M-F (P2+:902,000 vs. 735,000/A25-54: 251,000 vs. 238,000) and M-Su (P2+ 779,000 vs. 696,000/A25-54 244,000 vs. 225,000). 2011 was CNN’s second worst year ever in M-F primetime in A25-54 (2010 was worst year ever).

· In 2011, “Morning Joe” beat CNN’s “American Morning” among both total viewers and A25-54 (P2+: 449,000 vs. 293,000, A25-54: 148,000 vs. 125,000). “Morning Joe” had the best delivery ever for MSNBC in the 6-9 a.m. time slot and had more year over year growth than CNN, FXNC, and HLN combined. In addition, “Way Too Early with Willie Geist” ranked #2 for the year among both total viewers and A25-54 (P2+ 222,000 vs. CNN’s 158,000 A25-54 100,000 vs. CNN’s 74,000) and was up 32% among A25-54 and 15% in total viewers from 2010, more growth than all cable news programs in the half hour combined (“Way Too Early” data through Dec. 11, 2011).

· At 5p.m. “Hardball” is up 24% in the hour compared to 2010 among A25-54 (157,000 vs. 127,000). This is Hardball’s Best A25-54 delivery at 5 p.m. since 2008. “Hardball” also topped CNN in P2+ (705,000 vs. 679,000).

· At 6 p.m., where PoliticsNation now airs, MSNBC topped CNN in total viewers for 2011 (649,000 vs. 597,000) and ranked #2. Additionally, since PoliticsNation debuted in the time period, MSNBC is topping CNN by 17% in the A25-54 demographic (153,000 vs. 131,000).

· “Hardball with Chris Matthews” at 7 p.m. ranked #2 with A25-54 (188,000 vs. CNN’s 173,000) and P2+ (734,000 vs. CNN’s 537,000). This is “Hardball’s” best A25-54 delivery since 2009. CNN’s “Erin Burnett Outfront” is performing 23% below what “John King USA” did in the hour with Adults 25-54.

· At 8 p.m. where “The Ed Show” currently airs and “The Last Word” aired for much of the year, MSNBC topped CNN for the 5th straight year in total viewers (925,000 vs. 598,000) and A25-54 (222,000 vs. 185,000).

· In 2011, “The Rachel Maddow Show” ranked #2 at 9 p.m. beating CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight” by 29% among A25-54 (281,000 vs. 217,000) and 37% in total viewers (988,000 vs. 720,000).

· At 10pm, where “The Last Word” currently airs and “The Ed Show” aired for much of the year, MSNBC topped CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” in total viewers (849,000 vs. 776,000).

· MSNBC’s daytime audience (9a-5p) was up 19% in A25-54 (95,000 vs. 80,000) and up 21% in P2+ (355,000 vs. 293,000).

· In 2011, MSNBC is # 1 in delivering African American viewers (M-Su Primetime).

· Weekend Longform (Sa/Su 7p-2a) ranked #1 for the second year in a row.