April 2019 Ratings: MSNBC Is Still the Second-Most-Watched Cable Network, But It’s Also Way Down From Last Year

By A.J. Katz Comment

Across all of cable TV, MSNBC remained the second-most-watched network in total day and in prime time, and is touting its victories over CNN in total audience. April 2019 marked the 19th month in a row that MSNBC beat CNN in total viewers during dayside, the 27th consecutive month it beat CNN in prime time and the 26th month in a row that it finished ahead in total day viewers.

The NBC-owned cable news network also beat CNN in the prime time demo for the third consecutive month, thanks to its progressive-skewing programming. But it’s not often that the network is able to match CNN in the demo across the 6 a.m. – 6 a.m. total day. The network accomplished the feat in April for the first time since 2014, matching CNN with a 141,000 A25-54 viewer average. We use the term “feat” loosely. Both networks lost a chunk of their respective A25-54 audience base this month vs. April 2018. CNN’s loss was just more severe than MSNBC’s.

MSNBC’s No. 2 ranking across cable TV might sound great, but the network has been losing a significant number of what had been a massive audience over the past couple of years.

In April 2019, MSNBC was -14% in prime time viewers, -9 percent in total day viewers. The A25-54 drop off was worse: -36% in prime time and -34% in total day vs. the network’s April 2018 audience delivery.

The average impressions for April 2019 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):

  • Prime time (Mon-Sun):  1,660,000 total viewers / 255,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun):  919,000 total viewers /  141,000 A25-54

Rachel Maddow finished the month as MSNBC’s top show (no shocker), and was No. 3 across all of cable news, behind both Hannity and Tucker Carlson. All In With Chris Hayes beat AC360 across the board for the second consecutive month.

Morning Joe beat CNN for the 50th consecutive month in total viewers.

he 11th Hour with Brian Williams is the only show that has been beating Fox News with any sort of consistency in a relevant category. The 11th Hour defeated Fox News @ Night with Shannon Bream in total viewers for the second consecutive month (though he trailed her in the demo). The 11th Hour has also now defeated CNN in total viewers for 33 straight months.

Here’s MSNBC’s press release:

MSNBC TOTAL DAY, DAYSIDE AND PRIME DOMINATE CNN IN APRIL AMONG TOTAL VIEWERS

MSNBC Tops CNN for the 19th Straight Month in Dayside (M-F 9am-5pm), 27th Straight Month in Prime (M-Su 8-11pm), and 26th Straight Month in Total Day (M-Su 6am-6am) in Total Viewers

MSNBC Total Day Ties for 2nd in A25-54 for 1st Time Since 2014

“Morning Joe” Doubles CNN in Total Viewers in April 2019, Tops CNN for the 50th Consecutive Month in Total Viewers and for 18th Consecutive Month in A25-54

“The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” is Again #1 in Total Viewers, Beats CNN for 33rd Straight Month

“Deadline: White House” Continues #1 Finish in Total Viewers, Tops CNN for 19 Months in a Row

“The Rachel Maddow Show” Doubles CNN’s Viewership, Tops CNN in A25-54 for 27th Consecutive Month and Total Viewers for 71st Consecutive Month

“The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” at 10pm Beats CNN in A25-54 for 5th Straight Month and Total Viewers for 47th Month in a Row

“All In with Chris Hayes” at 8pm Bests CNN in A25-54 for 2nd Month in a Row and in Total Viewers for 29th Month in a Row

Every MSNBC Weekday Program from 5am to 3am Tops CNN in Total Viewers

MSNBC Weekend Total Day (Sa-Su 6am-6am) Edges out CNN for 3rd Consecutive Month in Total Viewers and During “AM Joy,” “Kasie DC,” “Weekends with Alex Witt” and “UP with David Gura” on Saturdays

NEW YORK (April 30, 2019) – Over the past several years, MSNBC has dominated CNN in total viewers during dayside (M-F 9am-5pm), prime (M-Su 8-11pm), total day (M-Su 6am-6am), and every weekday show. MSNBC has continued the momentum in total viewers by marking April as the 19th month in a row beating CNN in dayside, 27th month in a row beating CNN in prime, and 26th month in a row beating CNN in total day, according to Nielsen.

Across all of cable television, MSNBC was also the #2 most-watched network in these dayparts among total viewers. In dayside, MSNBC averaged 1M total viewers (vs. CNN’s 639,000) (MSNBC ranked ahead of #3 CNN and #4 Nickelodeon). In total day, MSNBC nearly doubled CNN in total viewers (919,000 vs. 545,000). MSNBC prime (M-Su 8-11pm) averaged 1.7M total viewers (vs. CNN’s 767,000) (MSNBC ranked ahead of #17 CNN).

In A25-54, MSNBC has made significant gains versus CNN in a number of key dayparts and programs and has now tied CNN in total day. This was the 1st time MSNBC was #2 in total day in A25-54 since June 2014, when MSNBC beat CNN. MSNBC averaged 141,000 (vs. CNN’s 141,000) in A25-54 for the month in total day. MSNBC prime also beat CNN for the 3rd month in a row.

“Morning Joe” at 6am topped CNN in A25-54 for the 18th straight month and in total viewers for the 50th straight month. “Morning Joe” averaged 1M total viewers, doubling CNN (452,000). In A25-54, “Morning Joe” averaged 172,000 (vs. CNN’s 136,000).

“Deadline: White House” at 4pm was #1 in total viewers, beating FOX News for the 5th month in a row and CNN for the last 19 months. “Deadline” averaged 1.4M total viewers (vs. FOX News’ 1.38M and CNN’s 732,000).

“All In with Chris Hayes” at 8pm bested CNN in A25-54 for the 2nd month in a row and in total viewers for the 29th month in a row. “All In” averaged 237,000 viewers A25-54 (vs. CNN’s 220,000) and 1.5M total viewers (vs. CNN’s 874,000).

“The Rachel Maddow Show” at 9pm topped CNN in A25-54 for the 27th consecutive month and in total viewers for the 71st straight month. “Maddow” averaged 427,000 viewers A25-54 (vs. CNN’s 235,000) and more than doubled CNN in total viewers with 2.6M (vs. CNN’s 917,000).

“The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” at 10pm bested CNN once again in both A25-54 and total viewers for the month. “The Last Word” averaged 2.1M total viewers (vs. CNN’s 793,000) and 308,000 viewers A25-54 (vs. CNN’s 214,000).

“The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” was #1 in total viewers at 11pm, topping FOX News and CNN. This was the 33rd month in a row that “The 11th Hour” beat CNN in total viewers. “The 11th Hour” averaged 1.5M total viewers (vs. FOX News’ 1.4M and CNN’s 576,000).

Every weekday MSNBC program from 5am-3am topped CNN in total viewers, including: “Morning Joe First Look” at 5am for the 18th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle” at 9am for the 27th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Hallie Jackson” at 10am for the 19th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Craig Melvin” at 11am for the 19th straight month; “Andrea Mitchell Reports” at 12pm for the 22nd straight month; “MSNBC Live with Velshi & Ruhle” at 1pm for the 18th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Katy Tur” at 2pm for the 6th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Ali Velshi” at 3pm for the 18th straight month; “MTP Daily” at 5pm for the 24th straight month; “The Beat with Ari Melber” at 6pm for the 22nd straight month; and “Hardball with Chris Matthews” at 7pm for the 33rd straight month.

On weekends, MSNBC edged out CNN in total viewers during weekend total day (Sa-Su 6am-6am) for the 3rd consecutive month. Several programs also beat CNN in total viewers for the month, including: “AM Joy” at 10am on Saturdays for the 19th straight month and Sundays for the 5th straight month; “Kasie DC” on Sundays at 7pm for the 13th straight month; “Weekends with Alex Witt” at 12pm on Saturdays for the 4th straight month and Sundays for the 2nd straight month; and “UP with David Gura” at 8am Saturdays for the 2nd straight month.

NOTE: April 2019 ratings are based on Nielsen Live+Same data day for 4/1/19-4/28/19. Unless specified, individual show data represents regular programming only, excluding specials and breaking news.

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