Brian Williams couldn’t do it. Neither could Joe Scarborough, Rita Cosby, Dan Abrams, Ashleigh Banfield, Deborah Norville or Alan Keyes.
But MSNBC’s new 9pmET show did. The Rachel Maddow show topped CNN’s Larry King Live in the ad-friendly A25-54 demo during the month of October. King still wins the Total Viewer crown and FNC’s Hannity & Colmes is #1 in both measurements.
“We’ve never had a performance like this in our history,” MSNBC president Phil Griffin tells TVNewser. “We tamed the giant of Larry King.”
Final numbers, which will include this past weekend, will be out tomorrow. But MSNBC is poised to beat CNN in the demo for three straight hours Monday-Friday — at 7pm (Hardball), 8pm (Countdown) and at 9. “The fact that we did it in the month leading up to the election is so satisfying for everyone who has worked here for the last two years,” Griffin says.
But now the hard work begins. After the election, some viewers will return to routines that don’t include watching cable news every night. “We’ve got to keep doing what we’re doing. We have to be aggressive and we have to stay interesting,” Griffin says. “The audience isn’t going to stay at these levels but we can keep some of that audience. For once, we have a loyal audience.”
Griffin says even he was surprised by Maddow’s explosive growth at 9pmET, up 396% year-over-year. “We knew she was going to be good, but right out of the gate to beat Larry King? That was a dream too far.”
And Griffin will not only need to hold on to those viewers, but maybe his talent too. In January, Chris Matthews will begin covering his fourth administration as host of Hardball. But there is continued talk that Matthews will be leaving TV for his own role in politics. Says Griffin, “I don’t believe he’s going to run. He’s got a platform right here. He has been so focused [this election], and just look at his numbers. It worked.”
The press release is after the jump…
MSNBC’S RACHEL MADDOW DE-THRONES KING – MSNBC FASTEST GROWING CABLE NET IN OCT.
MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show Out-Rates CNN’s Larry King Live in A25-54 in Oct., First Time MSNBC has Ever Out-Rated CNN at 9 PM
Countdown Sees Highest Ratings Ever; MSNBC’s Best Primetime Performance Ever
“Hardball with Chris Matthews” Out-Rates CNN’s “Lou Dobbs” at 7 PM
NEW YORK – Oct. 27, 2008 – MSNBC’s seven-week old “The Rachel Maddow Show” marked a huge milestone, out-rating CNN’s “Larry King Live” in just its second month on the air among Adults 25-54, the first time ever MSNBC has out-rated CNN at 9 p.m. (700,000 vs. 673,000, program data, excludes presidential debates). “The Rachel Maddow Show” is up an astounding 396 percent from Oct. 07 among A25-54 (700,000 vs. 141,000) and up 387 percent in total viewers (1,893,000 vs. 389,000).
MSNBC’s fantastic ratings growth reached new heights in October, becoming the fastest growing network in all of cable for the month (+147% in total viewers, total day vs. Oct. 07, through Friday). MSNBC also saw its best month ever in weekday primetime in total viewers (2,002,000) and in the key Adults 25-54 demographic (769,000).
“Countdown with Keith Olbermann” continued its dominance over CNN at 8 p.m., out-rating “Campbell Brown” by 35 percent in A25-54 (784,000 vs. 582,000) and 41 percent in total viewers (2,175,000 vs. 1,540,000). “Countdown” had its best month ever among A25-54 in October, and is up a tremendous 170 percent in A25-54 from Oct. 07 (784,000 vs. 290,000) and up 180 percent in total viewers (2,175,000 vs. 776,000). Excluding coverage of the presidential debates, “Countdown” is the #3 top-rated show in cable news in A25-54. “Countdown” is also the #1 cable news show among young viewers, Adults 18-34.
“Hardball with Chris Matthews” out-rated CNN’s “Lou Dobbs” by 7 percent in A25-54 (458,000 vs. 428,000), delivering the best numbers at 7 p.m. since April 2003 (the start of the war in Iraq). “Hardball” is up a huge 242 percent vs. Oct. 07 (134,000) and up 214 percent in total viewers (423,000).
“Morning Joe” had its best month ever, averaging 224,000 A25-54, and delivered MSNBC’s best morning ratings since April of 2003. “Morning Joe” is up 239 percent from Oct. 07 (66,000).
“Race for the White House with David Gregory” delivered 294,000 A25-54, up 272 percent from last year (79,000). These are the best ratings ever for “Race” and the highest ratings in the time period since April of 2003.