August 2018 Ratings: MSNBC Posts Year-Over-Year Total Audience Growth

By A.J. Katz Comment

The network of the resistance (at least in prime time) continues to thrive in the ratings department. MSNBC was the second-most-watched network across all of basic cable for the month of August. The network regularly finishes in the top two or three in the cable ratings race these days.

MSNBC dayside and total day (6 a.m.-6 a.m.) delivered record monthly audiences in August 2018, as did individual programs including Deadline: White House, hosted by Nicolle Wallace, and Morning Joe. Additionally, The 11th Hour with Brian Williams was the No. 1 cable news program in its timeslot for the month.

Here’s a look at MSNBC’s averages for August:

The ratings for August 2018:

  • Prime time (Mon-Sun):  1,845,000 Total Viewers /  340,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun):  1,040,000 Total Viewers /   194,000 A25-54

The network seems to be skewing older in 2018 relative to 2017. Perhaps younger news viewers are starting to get Trump fatigue. Or maybe the further away we move from presidential elections, the less interested younger viewers are in cable news.

That’s up for debate.

In Aug. 2018, MSNBC was +1 percent in total prime time viewers, but -17 percent in prime time A25-54 viewers vs. August 2017.  The trend was similar across the 24-hour day. The network was +4 percent in total day viewers vs. August 2017, but was actually -16 percent among adults 25-54.

While MSNBC dominated CNN in total prime time viewers, the network actually came up short to CNN when it came to delivering adults 25-54.

MSNBC says TRMS was the No. 1 cable news show in the 9 p.m. timeslot in August among adults 25-54. But according to Nielsen data, TRMS did not actually beat Hannity. When Jeanine Pirro hosts Hannity, those broadcasts are labeled “Hannity Special.” If one takes the “Special” broadcasts into account, then yes, Maddow does win. But Nielsen does not count the ratings for those “Hannity Special” broadcasts towards the Hannity ratings, which means Hannity consequently comes out on top across the board.

Maddow, like Hannity, was out on multiple Fridays in August, with Ali Velshi and Ari Melber filling in on those nights. But despite having done so in the past, MSNBC did not label TRMS as “Special” when Maddow was not at the desk.

But Maddow still had a pretty solid month, and is coming off of an especially strong week. TRMS was the No. 1 show on cable TV for the final full week of August, averaging 3.3 million viewers. The week was highlighted by Tuesday’s Michael Cohen-Paul Manafort-focused broadcast, which was the show’s second-most-watched ever.

Here’s MSNBC’s press release:

MSNBC’S “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” IS THE #1 CABLE NEWS PROGRAM IN A25-54 IN AUGUST

MSNBC Dayside (M-F 9am-5pm) and Total Day (M-Su 6am-6am) Post Total Viewer Growth While CNN and FOX News Decline

MSNBC Prime (M-F 8-11pm), Dayside, and Total Day Rank #2 Across All Cable in Total Viewers

MSNBC Dayside and Total Day Hit Record Monthly Total Viewer Ratings

“Morning Joe” Delivers Most-Watched Month, Tops CNN in A25-54 for 10th Straight Month and Total Viewers for 42nd Straight Month

“The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” Ranks #1 at 11pm in Both A25-54 and Total Viewers

“Deadline: White House” Ranks #1 in Total Viewers at 4pm with Record Viewership

“MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle,” “MSNBC Live with Hallie Jackson,” and “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” Top CNN in Both A25-54 and Total Viewers

“MSNBC Live with Hallie Jackson,” “MSNBC Live with Velshi & Ruhle,” “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” “MSNBC Live with Craig Melvin,” “MSNBC Live with Katy Tur,” “MSNBC Live with Ali Velshi,” “MTP Daily,” and “The Beat with Ari Melber” Post Record Total Viewer Ratings

MSNBC Bests CNN Weekdays for Every Hour from 5am to 3am in Total Viewers

On Weekends, MSNBC Beats CNN Saturdays from 10am to 7pm and Sundays at 10am to 3pm and 5pm to 9pm

NEW YORK (August 28, 2018) – For the month of August 2018, “The Rachel Maddow Show” was the #1 program in A25-54 across all of cable news as well as for the 9pm time period (including all specials) according to Nielsen. In A25-54, “Maddow” averaged 557,000 viewers (vs. FOX News’ 547,000 and CNN’s 406,000), beating CNN for the 19th straight month. In total viewers, “Maddow” averaged 2.9 million total viewers (vs. CNN’s 1.2 million), beating CNN for the 63rd straight month and ranking as the #2 most-watched show across all cable news.

In August, MSNBC posted growth in both dayside (M-F 9am-5pm) and total day (M-Su 6am-6am) over August 2017, while CNN and FOX News both declined. MSNBC prime (M-F 8-11pm), dayside and total day all ranked #2 across all of cable television in total viewers, ahead of #5 CNN in weekday prime, #4 CNN in dayside, and #5 CNN in total day. August marked the 21st straight month MSNBC topped CNN in weekday prime; the 18th straight month MSNBC topped CNN in total day; and the 11th straight month MSNBC topped CNN in dayside in total viewers. In dayside and total day, August was MSNBC’s most-watched month ever, with record total viewer ratings. MSNBC dayside averaged 1.1 million total viewers (vs. CNN’s 779,000), while total day averaged 1.04 million total viewers (vs. CNN’s 705,000).

“Morning Joe” (M-F 6-9am) led CNN in both A25-54 and total viewers for the month. August was also a record month for “Morning Joe,” with the show’s highest-ever monthly total viewer ratings. The program averaged 1.1 million viewers, doubling CNN (544,000) and topping CNN for the 42nd consecutive month. “Morning Joe” was the only cable news program in its timeslot to post growth over August 2017 in total viewers (+8% vs. CNN’s -15% FOX News’ -5%). In A25-54, “Morning Joe” averaged 232,000 viewers, beating CNN (169,000) for the 10th straight consecutive month.

“The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” was #1 at 11pm, beating FOX News and CNN in both A25-54 and total viewers. “The 11th Hour” averaged 319,000 viewers A25-54 – topping CNN for the 11th consecutive month – and 1.7 total million viewers, besting CNN for the 25th consecutive month.

“Deadline: White House” at 4pm had a record month, topping both FOX News and CNN in its highest-rated month ever in total viewers. “Deadline” averaged 1.5 million total viewers and was the only cable news program to grow in its hour over August 2017 (+25% vs. CNN’s -13% and FOX News’ -11%).

Several additional MSNBC programs beat CNN in both A25-54 and total viewers. “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” at 10pm averaged 2.2 million total viewers (vs. CNN’s 1.2 million), topping CNN for the 39th straight month, and 398,000 viewers A25-54 (vs. CNN’s 393,000), beating CNN for the 11th straight month. Both “MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle” at 9am and “MSNBC Live with Hallie Jackson” at 10am also beat CNN in both demographics. “MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle” beat CNN in total viewers for the 19th consecutive month, and was the only cable news program during the hour to post growth over August 2017 (+12% vs. CNN’s -15% and FOX News’ -8%). “MSNBC Live with Hallie Jackson” beat CNN in total viewers for the 11th consecutive month, and was the only cable news program during the hour to post growth over August 2017 (+12% vs. CNN’s -11% and FOX News’ -7%).

The following MSNBC shows had their most-watched month on record: “Morning Joe” at 6am, “MSNBC Live with Hallie Jackson” at 10am, “MSNBC Live with Velshi & Ruhle” at 11am, “Andrea Mitchell Reports” at 12pm, “MSNBC Live with Craig Melvin” at 1pm, “MSNBC Live with Katy Tur” at 2pm, “MSNBC Live with Ali Velshi” at 3pm, “Deadline: White House” at 4pm, “MTP Daily” at 5pm, and “The Beat with Ari Melber” at 6pm all had their highest monthly total viewer ratings ever.

Weekdays, more viewers chose MSNBC than CNN. Every hour of MSNBC’s weekday programming between 5am-3am beat CNN in total viewers, including: “Morning Joe First Look” at 5am for the 10th month in a row; “Morning Joe” from 6-9am for the 42nd straight month; “MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle” at 9am for the 19th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Hallie Jackson” at 10am for the 11th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Velshi and Ruhle” at 11am for the 11th straight month; “Andrea Mitchell Reports” at 12pm for the 14th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Craig Melvin” at 1pm for the 10th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Katy Tur” at 2pm for the 10th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Ali Velshi” at 3pm for the 10th straight month; “Deadline: White House” at 4pm for the 11th straight month; “MTP Daily” at 5pm for the 16th straight month; “The Beat with Ari Melber” at 6pm for the 14th straight month; “Hardball with Chris Matthews” at 7pm for the 25th straight month; “All In with Chris Hayes” at 8pm for the 21st straight month; “The Rachel Maddow Show” at 9pm for the 63rd straight month; “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” at 10pm for the 39th straight month; and “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” at 11pm for the 25th straight month.

On Saturdays, “AM Joy” at 10am bested CNN in total viewers for the 11th straight month, averaging 1,065,000 viewers (vs. CNN’s 736,000). On Sundays, “AM Joy” at 10am beat CNN in total viewers for the 8th month year-to-date, averaging 947,000 viewers (vs. CNN’s 816,000). On Sundays, “Kasie DC” at 7pm beat CNN in total viewers for the 5th straight month and was the only cable news show to grow in its timeslot over August 2017 (+14% vs. CNN’s -29% and FOX News’ -20%). “Kasie DC” averaged 833,000 total viewers (vs. CNN’s 690,000).

NOTE: August 2018 ratings are based on Nielsen Live+Same data day for 7/30/18-8/26/18. Individual show data represents regular programming only, excluding specials and breaking news.

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