April 2017 Ratings: MSNBC is Thriving in Prime Time Thanks to Rachel Maddow

By A.J. Katz Comment

MSNBC defeated CNN in prime time this past month, both in total audience and in the ad-friendly A25-54 demo.

The network also continues to post more year-over-year prime time audience growth than both Fox News and CNN: +82 percent in total viewers and +61 percent in the prime time demo versus April 2016. Additionally, MSNBC posted double digit year-over-year audience growth across total day, but finished behind CNN when it came to A25-54 viewers across total day.

The network’s prime time ratings surge is primarily driven by Rachel Maddow. In weekday prime time hours, MSNBC was the 2nd most-watched network in all of cable for the third straight month, behind only Fox News.

The average impressions for April 2017 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):

  • Prime time (Mon-Sun): 1,564,000 total viewers / 359,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 823,000 total viewers / 186,000 A25-54

Maddow hosted the No. 1 cable news show for the month of April among regularly scheduled cable news series in the key A25-54 demo. But when you combine The Factor with Tucker Carlson’s recent numbers in the 8 p.m. hour, Maddow actually finishes runner up in the demo by 13,000 viewers (575,000 vs. 562,000).

TRMS also posted more year-over-year total viewer growth than its 9 p.m. competition.

Elsewhere in MSNBC prime, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell continues to show ratings improvement, and beat CNN in the 10 p.m. hour across the board for the second consecutive month. All In With Chris Hayes beat AC360 in total viewers, but fell short among adults 25-54. Like so many other MSNBC shows, All In posted more year-over-year audience growth than its timeslot competition.

In the mornings, Morning Joe defeated CNN’s New Day in total viewers for the 26th consecutive month. The program grew double digits in overall audience and in the A25-54 demo this past month versus April 2016. That said, Joe fell short to New Day in the demo that matters to advertisers of news.

Here’s MSNBC’s release:

 “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” IS #1 IN A25-54 ACROSS CABLE NEWS IN APRIL, BEATING ALL REGULARLY SCHEDULED SHOWS ON FOX NEWS AND CNN
MSNBC Again Delivers More Viewers Than CNN in Total Day for 2nd Straight Month
“Morning Joe” Continues Total Viewer Victory Over Third-Place CNN for 26th Straight Month
MSNBC Tops CNN in Weekday Prime Among Total Viewers for 5th Consecutive Month; Ranks #2 in Prime for All Cable for 3rd Straight Month
MSNBC Weekday Prime Again Outperforms CNN in A25-54
“The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” Bests CNN in Total Viewers and A25-54 at 10pm
MSNBC Surpasses CNN Among Total Viewers at 9am, 12pm, 7pm, 8pm, and 11pm
MSNBC Dayside Growth in Total Viewers Continues to Outpace the Competition
NEW YORK (May 2, 2017) – For the month of April 2017, “The Rachel Maddow Show” was the #1 show across cable news among regularly scheduled shows in the key A25-54 demo (“The O’Reilly Factor” now off the air) and again finished as the #1 cable news show in A25-54 for the 9pm time period, beating both FOX News and CNN for the 2nd month in a row, according to Nielsen. Maddow also topped “Tucker Carlson Tonight” at 8pm, “The Five” at 9pm and “Hannity” at 10pm in A25-54 for the month. “The Rachel Maddow Show” averaged 2.4 million total viewers and 562,000 viewers A25-54, posting more year-over-year growth than its competition in total viewers (+98% vs. CNN’s +20% and FOX News’ +16%) and in A25-54 (+89% vs. CNN’s +28% and FOX News’ +30%). Year to-date, “The Rachel Maddow Show” is the fastest growing primetime show in cable news.
MSNBC delivered more viewers than CNN in total day (M-Su 6am-6am), beating CNN in the time period for the 2nd straight month.
“Morning Joe” at 6am continued its total viewer victory over CNN’s third-place “New Day” for the 26th straight month. “Morning Joe” delivered 907,000 total viewers (the show’s 2nd highest total ever), posting more growth than CNN (+52% vs. CNN’s +42%) and 210,000 A25-54 viewers (+34%) over April 2016.
MSNBC’s weekday primetime programming (M-F 8-11pm) topped CNN in total viewers and in A25-54, marking prime’s 5th consecutive month over CNN in total viewers and 2nd straight month over CNN in A25-54. In addition, MSNBC was the 2nd most-watched cable network overall in primetime for the 3rd straight month, behind only FOX News. MSNBC prime’s year-to-year growth more than tripled the competition in total viewers (+86% vs. CNN’s -18% and FOX News’ +25%) and delivered more growth in A25-54 (+67% vs. CNN’s -9% and FOX News’ +39%) compared to April 2016. Year to-date, MSNBC is the fastest growing network in all of cable for total viewers in primetime. Year to-date, MSNBC has also added nearly 800,000 viewers over 2016, by far the most of any cable network and +74% more than second-place FOX News.
MSNBC’s “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” at 10pm bested CNN across the board during that time period, beating CNN in in A25-54 for the 2nd consecutive month and in total viewers for the 23rd straight month.
Five other MSNBC programs topped CNN and delivered higher year-over-year growth than the competition in total viewers: “MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle” at 9am, “Andrea Mitchell Reports” at 12pm, “Hardball with Chris Matthews” at 7pm, “All In with Chris Hayes” at 8pm, and “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” at 11pm.
Heading into its 2nd year since undergoing a strategic shift from opinion programming to breaking news, MSNBC dayside (M-F 9am-5pm) saw more growth than the competition in total viewers (+61% vs. CNN’s +27% and FOX News’ +37%).
On the weekends, the Saturday edition of “AM Joy” (Sa-Su 10am-12pm) topped CNN in total viewers during the time period for the 2nd straight month. Additionally, “AM Joy” outperformed the competition in both total viewer and A25-54 growth on Saturdays and Sundays over April 2016.
NOTE: April 2017 ratings are based on Nielsen Live+Same data day for 3/27/17-4/30/17. Individual show data represents regular programming only, excluding specials and breaking news.
APRIL 2017 HIGHLIGHTS
MSNBC TOTAL DAY (M-Su 6am-6am)
• MSNBC total day topped CNN in total viewers during the time period for the 2nd straight month.
• MSNBC delivered more growth than the competition in total viewers (+66% vs. CNN’s +17% and FOX News’ +35%) and outperformed CNN in the key A25-54 demographic (+40% vs. CNN’s +30%) compared to April 2016.
• MSNBC total day averaged 823,000 total viewers and 186,000 viewers A25-54.
MORNING JOE (M-F 6-9am)
• “Morning Joe” (6-9am) continued its winning streak over CNN’s third-place “New Day” in total viewers for the 26th straight month.
• “Morning Joe” was up +52% in total viewers (vs. CNN’s +42%) and +34% in A25-54 over April 2016.
• “Morning Joe” averaged 907,000 total viewers (the show’s second highest total ever – ahead of CNN’s 623,000) and 210,000 viewers A25-54.
DAYSIDE (M-F 9am-5pm)
• MSNBC dayside’s year-to-year growth in total viewers saw more growth than the competition, posting gains of +61% (vs. CNN’s +27% and FOX News’ +37%).
• In the A25-54 demo, MSNBC dayside posted gains of +34% over April 2016.
• “MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle” (9-10am) beat CNN in total viewers and showed more growth than the competition in total viewers (+65% vs. CNN’s +35% and FOX News’ +38%). The show also posted a growth of +37% in A25-54 over April 2016.
• “MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle” averaged 825,000 total viewers and 152,000 viewers A25-54.
• “Andrea Mitchell Reports” (12-1pm) topped CNN in total viewers and was up +65% (vs. CNN’s +23% and FOX News’ +40%) in total viewers and +38% in A25-54 over April 2016.
• “Andrea Mitchell Reports” averaged 759,000 total viewers and 138,000 viewers A25-54.
EARLY EVENING (M-F 5-8pm)
• “MTP Daily with Chuck Todd” (5-6pm) delivered more growth than the competition, posting gains of +60% in total viewers (vs. CNN’s +30% and FOX News’ +27%) and +48% in A25-54 (vs. CNN’s +45% and FOX News’ +40%).
• “MTP Daily” averaged 1.01 million total viewers and 184,000 viewers A25-54.
• “For the Record with Greta” (6-7pm) posted more growth than FOX News in both total viewers (+54% vs. CNN’s +32% and FOX News’ +22%) and the A25-54 demo (+51% vs. FOX News’ +36%) compared to April 2016.
• “For the Record” averaged 879,000 total viewers and 178,000 viewers A25-54.
• “Hardball with Chris Matthews” (7-8pm) topped third-ranked CNN among total viewers for the 9th straight month.
• “Hardball” delivered more growth than the competition and was up +61% in total viewers (vs. CNN’s +23% and FOX News’ +27%) and +59% in A25-54 (vs. CNN’s +43% and FOX News’ +57%) over April 2016.
• “Hardball” averaged 1.48 million total viewers and 311,000 viewers A25-54.
WEEKDAY PRIME (M-F 8-11pm)
• MSNBC weekday prime ranked #2 ahead of CNN in total viewers and in A25-54, marking prime’s 5th consecutive month over CNN in total viewers and 2nd straight month over CNN in A25-54.
• Prime was also the 2nd most-watched network in all of cable for the 3rd straight month, behind only FOX News.
• MSNBC prime’s year-to-year growth more than tripled the competition in total viewers (+86% vs. CNN’s -18% and FOX News’ +25%) and delivered more growth in A25-54 (+67% vs. CNN’s -9% and FOX News’ +39%) compared to April 2016.
• Year to-date, MSNBC is the fastest growing network in all of cable for total viewers in primetime. Year to-date, MSNBC has also added nearly 800,000 viewers over 2016, +74% more than second-place FOX News.
• MSNBC weekday prime averaged 2.01 million total viewers (ahead of CNN’s 1.09 million) and 453,000 viewers A25-54 (ahead of CNN’s 397,000).
• “All In with Chris Hayes” (8-9pm) beat CNN in total viewers for the 5th straight month.
• “All In” also posted more growth than the competition in both total viewers (+83% vs. CNN’s +11% and FOX News’ +15%) and the A25-54 demo (+71% vs. CNN’s +23% and FOX News’ +32%) compared to April 2016.
• “All In” averaged 1.62 million total viewers and 364,000 viewers A25-54.
• “The Rachel Maddow Show” (9-10pm) again finished as the #1 cable news show in A25-54 for the 9pm time period, beating both FOX News and CNN for the 2nd month in a row.
• Maddow was also the #1 show across cable news among regularly scheduled shows in A25-54 (“The O’Reilly Factor” now off the air).
• Maddow easily beat CNN at 9pm and also beat “Tucker Carlson Tonight” at 8pm, “The Five” at 9pm and “Hannity” at 10pm in A25-54 for the month.
• “The Rachel Maddow Show” posted more year-over-year growth than its competition in total viewers (+98% vs. CNN’s +20% and FOX News’ +16%) and in A25-54 (+89% vs. CNN’s +28% and FOX News’ +30%) over April 2016.
• Year to-date, “The Rachel Maddow Show” is the fastest growing primetime show in cable news.
• “The Rachel Maddow Show” averaged 2.40 million viewers and 562,000 viewers A25-54.
• “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” (10-11pm) beat CNN across the board, topping third-ranked CNN in total viewers for the 23rd straight month and in A25-54 demo for the 2nd month in a row.
• “The Last Word” posted more growth than the competition in both total viewers (+100% vs. CNN’s +20% and FOX News’ +42%) and the A25-54 demo (+72% vs. CNN’s +36% and FOX News’ +42%) compared to April 2016.
• The Last Word” averaged 1.96 million total viewers and 420,000 viewers A25-54.
THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS (M-Th 11-11:30pm)
• “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” beat CNN in the half hour among total viewers for the 9th straight month.
• “The 11th Hour” posted more growth than CNN and FOX News in total viewers (+146% vs. CNN’s +34% and FOX News’ +29%) and in A25-54 (+90% vs. CNN’s +51% and FOX News’ +30%).
• “The 11th Hour” averaged 1.39 million total viewers and 328,000 viewers A25-54.
AM JOY (Sa-Su 10am-12pm)
• For the 2nd straight month, Saturday editions of “AM Joy” topped CNN in total viewers during the time period. “AM Joy” more than tripled the growth of its competition in total viewers (+121% vs. CNN’s +27% and FOX News’ +39%). “AM Joy” also posted more growth than the competition in A25-54 demo (+98% vs. CNN’s +56% and FOX News’ +55%). The Saturday edition averaged 964,000 total viewers and 198,000 viewers A25-54.
• Sunday editions outperformed CNN and FOX News in total viewer growth (+131% vs. CNN’s +30% and FOX News’ +40%) and A25-54 growth (+120% vs. CNN’s +43% and FOX News’ +62%). The Sunday edition averaged 762,000 total viewers and 187,000 viewers A25-54.
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