May 2017 Ratings: For First Time Since 2000, MSNBC Beats Fox News & CNN on Weeknights

By A.J. Katz Comment

The seemingly non-stop chaos coming out of the Trump administration has been providing MSNBC with huge prime time ratings. In fact, MSNBC finished May as the No. 1 cable news network in the advertiser-friendly A25-54 demo for weekday prime (Mon-Fri, 8 – 11 p.m.), per Nielsen. This is the first time the network has defeated both Fox News and CNN on weeknights in the demo since September 2000.

MSNBC averaged 532,000 adults 25-54 during weekday prime this month, more than Fox News (524,000) and CNN (455,000). In total viewers, MSNBC weekday prime averaged 2.2 million viewers (vs. CNN’s 1.3 million and Fox News’ 2.5 million), the closest MSNBC has been to FNC since June 2001.

Additionally, the network posted its best total day delivery in network history, averaging 925,000 total viewers in the 6 a.m. – 6 a.m. time interval. This performance also includes more year-over-year growth than its competitors.

The Monday – Sunday prime time audience growth from May 2016, is also staggering, and includes a +105 percent bump in total viewers.

The numbers for May 2017 (Nielsen Live+Same Day Data):

  • Primetime (Mon-Sun):  1,689,000 Total Viewers /  417.000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 925,000 Total Viewers / 221,000 A25-54

Rachel Maddow led the charge for MSNBC. She was host of the No. 1 cable news program for the month of May among adults 25-54. The program also scored a monthly win over both CNN (AC 360/ various specials) and Fox News (The Five) in total viewers in the 9 p.m. hour – the first time ever in MSNBC’s 20-year history.

The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell beat 10 p.m. rival Hannity in the news demo (523,000 vs. 518,000) this past month, but fell short in total viewers. The 523,000 A25-54 average represents MSNBC’s best demo delivery since April 2003. Something he and his team can undoubtedly cite during contract negotiations.

Morning Joe also had a notable month, eclipsing 1 million total viewers for the first time in the history of the program. The 1.1 million viewer average for May 2017 represents +89 percent improvement from the program’s total viewer average in May 2016 (583,000).

Here’s the network’s release:

MSNBC IS #1 IN A25-54 FOR WEEKDAY PRIME IN MAY, BEATING BOTH FOX NEWS AND CNN FOR 1ST TIME IN NEARLY 17 YEARS
“The Rachel Maddow Show” Wins May as the #1 Show Across All Cable News in A25-54, Scores Historic Monthly Win in Both Demo and Total Viewers at 9pm
“The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” is #1 at 11pm in A25-54 and Total Viewers
MSNBC Dayside Delivers Highest-Ever Monthly Delivery in MSNBC’s 20-Year History in Total Viewers, Posts More Total Audience and A25-54 Growth than the Competition
“The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” Ties “Hannity” for #1 in A25-54, Again Beats CNN in Both A25-54 and Total Viewers
“Morning Joe” Surges to More Than 1 Million Total Viewers for the 1st Time, Beating CNN for 27th Straight Month; Posts Highest Non-Election Month in A25-54
NEW YORK (May 31, 2017) – MSNBC finished the month of May as the #1 cable news network in A25-54 for weekday prime (M-F 8-11pm) according to Nielsen, beating both FOX News and CNN in the daypart for the 1st time since September 2000. In A25-54, weekday prime averaged 532,000 viewers (vs. CNN’s 455,000 and FOX News’ 524,000), the daypart’s best rating since October 2012 and best cable news share ever.
MSNBC’s weekday primetime programming also outperformed CNN in total viewers for the 6th straight month, posting its 2nd best audience delivery and best cable news share ever. In total viewers, weekday prime averaged 2.2 million viewers (vs. CNN’s 1.3 million and FOX News’ 2.5 million), the closest MSNBC has been to FOX News since June 2001. Among all cable networks, MSNBC ranked #3 in total viewers for weekday prime, behind only TNT and FOX News.
MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” was the #1 show across all cable news in the key A25-54 demo. “The Rachel Maddow Show” scored a monthly win over CNN and FOX News in total viewers at 9pm – the first time ever in MSNBC’s 20-year history – and for A25-54 it was the 3rd straight monthly win. The program averaged 2.6 million total viewers and 638,000 A25-54 viewers. The re-air of “The Rachel Maddow Show” at 12am was also #1 in total viewers.
“The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” finished the month as the #1 show at 11pm in both total viewers and A25-54. This is the first time MSNBC beat CNN and FOX News in total viewers during the time period since August 2001. “The 11th Hour” averaged 1.6 million total viewers and 523,000 viewers A25-54, the best demo delivery in the time period since April 2003.
For the month of May, MSNBC dayside (M-F 9am-5pm) delivered an all-time high in total viewers. Dayside also posted the highest-ever monthly 9am-5pm cable news share for total viewers since September 2000. Dayside averaged 864,000 total viewers and 165,000 A25-54 viewers. Dayside also saw more growth than the competition in total viewers (+94% vs. CNN’s +49% and FOX News’ +24%) and in A25-54 viewers (+82% vs. CNN’s +76% and FOX News’ +50%).
“The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” tied “Hannity” on FOX News for #1 in A25-54. The program bested CNN across the board at 10pm, beating CNN in in A25-54 for the 3rd consecutive month and in total viewers for the 24th straight month. “The Last Word” averaged 2.2 million viewers and 523,000 viewers A25-54. This is the time period’s best A25-54 delivery since April 2003.
“Morning Joe” at 6am hit an all-time high passing more than one million viewers for the first time ever and beating CNN’s third-place “New Day” for the 27th straight month, the program’s best streak ever. “Morning Joe” delivered 1.1 million total viewers, the program’s best total viewer delivery ever. In A25-54, “Morning Joe” averaged 254,000 viewers. This is the program’s highest A25-54 delivery ever in a non-election month, and the 2nd best month in A25-54 (after November 2012).
MSNBC led CNN for the 4th straight month in M-F 6am-2am in total viewers. This was the network’s best total viewer delivery in the time period ever, and the best A25-54 delivery since November 2012. Among all cable networks, MSNBC finished #2 in total viewers from M-F 6am-2am, behind only FOX News and ahead of Nickelodeon and CNN.
Four other MSNBC programs surpassed CNN in total viewers: “MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle” at 9am, “Andrea Mitchell Reports” at 12pm, “Hardball with Chris Matthews” at 7pm and “All In with Chris Hayes” at 8pm.
NOTE: May to-date ratings are based on Nielsen Live+Same data day for 5/1/17-5/28/17. Individual show data represents regular programming only, excluding specials and breaking news.
MAY 2017 HIGHLIGHTS
MSNBC Total Day (M-Su 6am-6am)
• More people watched MSNBC than CNN for the 3rd straight month.
• MSNBC delivered more growth than the competition in the key A25-54 demographic (+78% vs. FOX News’ +40% and CNN’s +58%) and in total viewers (+92% vs. CNN’s +41% and FOX News’ +22%) compared to May 2016.
• MSNBC total day averaged 925,000 total viewers – the best total viewer delivery in the daypart ever – and 221,000 viewers A25-54 – the best demo delivery in the daypart since November 2012.
MORNING JOE (M-F 6-9am)
• “Morning Joe” (6-9am) hit an all-time high passing more than one million viewers for the first time ever and beating CNN’s third-place “New Day” for the 27th straight month, the program’s best streak ever.
• “Morning Joe” was up +81% in total viewers (vs. CNN’s +58% and FOX News’ +50%) over May 2016. In A25-54, “Morning Joe” was up +73% from May 2016 (vs. FOX News’ +63%). This is the program’s highest A25-54 delivery ever in a non-election month, and the 2nd best month in A25-54 (after November 2008).
• “Morning Joe” averaged 1.1 million total and 254,000 viewers A25-54.
DAYSIDE (M-F 9am-5pm)
• MSNBC dayside posted the highest-ever monthly 9am-5pm cable news share for total viewers since September 2000.
• Dayside averaged 867,000 total viewers, the best audience delivery in the time period ever, and 167,000 A25-54 viewers.
• Dayside also saw more growth than the competition in total viewers (+94% vs. CNN’s +49% and FOX News’ +24%) and in A25-54 viewers (+82% vs. CNN’s +76% and FOX News’ +50%).
• “MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle” (9-10am) beat CNN in total viewers for the 4th straight month and showed more growth than the competition in total viewers (+92% vs. CNN’s +55% and FOX News’ +31%). The show also posted a growth of +86% in A25-54 over May 2016.
• “MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle” averaged 916,000 total viewers, the best total viewer delivery in the hour ever, and 186,000 viewers A25-54, the best A25-54 delivery in the hour since November 2012.
• “Andrea Mitchell Reports” (12-1pm) topped CNN in total viewers in the time period for the 2nd straight month.
• The program was up +93% (vs. CNN’s +43% and FOX News’ +25%) in total viewers and +73% in A25-54 (vs. FOX News’ +53%) over May 2016.
• “Andrea Mitchell Reports” averaged 850,000 total viewers, the best audience delivery in the hour ever, and 159,000 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 +96% in total viewers (vs. CNN’s +47% and FOX News’ -9 %) and +99% in A25-54 (vs. CNN’s +65% and FOX News’ +18%).
• “MTP Daily” averaged 1.2 million total viewers – the time period’s best total viewer delivery since November 2012 – and 229,000 viewers A25-54 – the time period’s best A25-54 delivery since January 2013.
• “For the Record with Greta” (6-7pm) posted more growth than the competition in both total viewers (+92% vs. CNN’s +65% and FOX News’ +12%) and the A25-54 demo (+94% vs. CNN’s +83% and FOX News’ +33%) compared to May 2016.
• “For the Record” averaged 1 million total viewers – the hour’s best total viewer delivery since October 2016 – and 225,000 viewers A25-54 – the hour’s best A25-54 delivery since October 2016.
• “Hardball with Chris Matthews” (7-8pm) topped third-ranked CNN among total viewers for the 10th straight month.
• “Hardball” delivered more growth than the competition and was up +95% in total viewers (vs. CNN’s +75% and FOX News’ +13%) and +115% in A25-54 (vs. CNN’s +101% and FOX News’ +39%) over May 2016.
• “Hardball” averaged 1.7 million total viewers – the best total viewer delivery in the time period ever – and 382,000 viewers A25-54 – the best A25-54 delivery in the time period since November 2012.
WEEKDAY PRIME (M-F 8-11pm)
• MSNBC weekday prime was #1 in A25-54, beating FOX News and CNN in the daypart for the 1st time since September 2000.
• In A25-54, weekday prime averaged 532,000 viewers (vs. CNN’s 455,000 and FOX News’ 524,000), the daypart’s best rating since October 2012 and best cable news share ever.
• In total viewers, weekday prime averaged 2.2 million viewers (vs. CNN’s 1.3 million and FOX News’ 2.5 million), the closest MSNBC has been to FOX News since June 2001. Weekday prime outperformed CNN in total viewers for the 6th straight month, posting its 2nd best audience delivery and best cable news share ever.
• Weekday prime more than doubled the growth of FOX News and CNN in both A25-54 viewers (+118% vs. CNN’s +51% and FOX News’ +17%) and in total viewers (+113% vs. CNN’s +34% and FOX News’ +2%) over May 2016.
• Among all cable networks, MSNBC ranked #3 in total viewers for weekday prime (behind only TNT and FOX News) and #6 in A25-54.
• “All In with Chris Hayes” (8-9pm) beat CNN in total viewers for the 6th straight month.
• “All In” also posted more growth than the competition in both total viewers (+116% vs. CNN’s +60% and FOX News’ -10%) and the A25-54 demo (+121% vs. CNN’s +92% and FOX News’ +8%) compared to May 2016.
• “All In” averaged 1.8 million total viewers – the time period’s best total viewer delivery since November 2008 – and 442,000 viewers A25-54 – the time period’s best A25-54 delivery since February 2009.
• “The Rachel Maddow Show” (9-10pm) was the #1 show across all cable news in the key A25-54 demo.
• “Maddow” scored a monthly win over FOX News and CNN in total viewers at 9pm – the first time ever in MSNBC’s 20-year history – and for A25-54 it was the 3rd straight monthly win.
• The program averaged 2.6 million total viewers and 638,000 A25-54 viewers.
• “The Rachel Maddow Show” posted more year-over-year growth than its competition in total viewers (+120% vs. CNN’s +52% and FOX News’ -5%) and in A25-54 (+125% vs. CNN’s +72% and FOX News’ +9%) over May 2016.
• The re-air of “The Rachel Maddow Show” at 12am was also #1 in total viewers.
• “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” (10-11pm) tied FOX News’ “Hannity” for #1 in A25-54. “The Last Word” also beat CNN across the board, topping third-ranked CNN in total viewers for the 24th straight month and in A25-54 demo for the 3rd month in a row.
• “The Last Word” posted more year-over-year growth than its competition in total viewers (+126% vs. CNN’s +69% and FOX News’ +16%) and in A25-54 (+140% vs. CNN’s +89% and FOX News’ +16%) over May 2016.
• “The Last Word” averaged 2.2 million viewers and 523,000 viewers A25-54. This is the time period’s best A25-54 delivery since April 2003.
THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS (M-Th 11-11:30pm)
• “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” finished the month as the #1 show at 11pm in both total viewers and A25-54. This is the first time MSNBC beat CNN and FOX News in total viewers during the time period since August 2001.
• “The 11th Hour” more than doubled the growth of CNN and FOX News in total viewers (+185% vs. CNN’s +64% and FOX News’ +9%) and in A25-54 (+174% vs. CNN’s +72% and FOX News’ +10%).
• “The 11th Hour” averaged 1.6 million total viewers and 405,000 viewers A25-54, the best demo delivery in the time period since April 2003.
AM JOY (Sa-Su 10am-12pm)
• For the 3rd straight month, Saturday editions of “AM Joy” topped CNN in total viewers during the time period. “AM Joy” more than doubled the growth of its competition in total viewers (+121% vs. CNN’s +19% and FOX News’ +45%). “AM Joy” also posted more growth than the competition in A25-54 demo (+119% vs. CNN’s +60% and FOX News’ +55%) over May 2016. The Saturday edition averaged 1.02 million total viewers and 211,000 viewers A25-54.
• Sunday editions outperformed CNN and FOX News in total viewer growth (+131% vs. CNN’s +47% and FOX News’ +54%) and A25-54 growth (+170% vs. CNN’s +54% and FOX News’ +67%). The Sunday edition averaged 822,000 total viewers and 228,000 viewers A25-54.

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