February 2013 Ratings: Dayside Strong For MSNBC, But Primetime Slips

By Alex Weprin 

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February 2013 wasn’t bad for MSNBC, especially considering all the political news a year ago. The cable channel generally saw declines (as its competition did), but was the only channel to be flat in the adults 25-54 demo in primetime, and remained number two behind FNC.

The ratings for February, 2013 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):

  • Primetime (Mon-Sun): 800K Total Viewers / 238K A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 433K Total Viewers / 141K A25-54

Compared to February 2012, MSNBC was down -3% in total viewers and flat in the demo in primetime (Note: percentages are based on a blend of Live +7 and Live +3 data). In total day the channel was down -5% in total viewers and -3% in the demo compared to last year. Given that February of last year was a big news month, with Republican primaries, debates and the death of Whitney Houston, the mild declines aren’t that bad for MSNBC.

In fact, a handful of MSNBC programs saw growth.

4PM’s “Martin Bashir” was up in both total (+21%) and demo (+31%) viewers, as was 12 PM’s “Now” which was up +8% in total viewers and +35% in the demo. “Andrea Mitchell Reports” was also up double digits in both categories. “Hardball” was up +17% and “PoliticsNation” was up +6% in the demo at 5 and 6 PM, respectively.

In primetime, “The Ed Show” was down -14% and -10% in total and demo viewers compared to last year, while “Rachel Maddow” was down -6% and -5% in those categories, respectively. At 10 PM “The Last Word” was down -7% in total viewers and -12% in the demo.

“Morning Joe” was down -5% in total viewers and -3% in the demo.

The full release from MSNBC is after the jump.




NEW YORK – February 26, 2013 – MSNBC ranked #2 for the month of February in all major ratings categories according to data from Nielsen. In February, MSNBC had the network’s highest -rated State of the Union address in network history among A25-54 and total viewers, topping Fox News Channel among A25-54. MSNBC also had the network’s most-watched news documentary in more than ten years with “Hubris, The Selling the Iraq War” hosted by Rachel Maddow which debuted on February 18.


MSNBC ranked #2 in Total Day (M-Su 6a-6a) for the month among both A25-54(141,000) and total viewers (432,000). In Sales Day (M-Su 6a-2a), MSNBC ranked #2 with 477,000 total viewers and 150,000 A25-54.


MSNBC weekday primetime (M-F 8p-11p) ranked #2 with a 28% advantage over CNN in total viewers (974,000 vs. 759,000) and a 12% lead among A25-54 (257,000 vs. 229,000). MSNBC is up 2% with A25-54 from Feb. 2012, while CNN and Fox News Channel are both down by double digits.

Following are MSNBC’s morning and primetime ratings highlights for February 2013:


· “Morning Joe” (6:00-9:00 a.m. ET) ranked #2 in total viewers and A25-54 for the 23rd consecutive month, topping CNN by 54% (418,000 vs. 272,000) in total viewers and 37% among A25-54 (155,000 vs. 113,000). “Morning Joe” saw a 10% increase among the younger demo of A18-34 compared to Feb. 2012.


· “Hardball with Chris Matthews” at 5 p.m. ranked #2 in total viewers and A25-54 for the 17th consecutive month with a 28% lead over CNN in total viewers (771,000 vs. 602,000) and a 10% advantage in A25-54 (168,000 vs. 153,000). Compared to Feb. 2012, “Hardball” was up 17% with A25-54 and 3% among A18-34.


· “PoliticsNation” with Al Sharpton at 6 p.m. ranked #2 in A25-54 for the 16th straight month, beating CNN by 18% (187,000 vs. 158,000) and ranked #2 in total viewers for the 19th consecutive month, with a 38% advantage over CNN (718,000 vs. 522,000). “PoliticsNation” is up 8% in A25-54 and 5% in A18-34 compared to Feb. 2012.


· At 7 p.m. “Hardball with Chris Matthews” ranked #2 for the 19th consecutive month total viewers and A25-54. “Hardball” topped CNN’s “Erin Burnett Outfront” by 34%in A25-54 (198,000 vs. 148,000) and 55% in total viewers (746,000 vs. 481,000). “Hardball” at 7 p.m. also ranked #1 among A18-34 for the month.


· “The Ed Show” at 8 p.m. ranked #2 with total viewers for the 19th straight month, with an 11% advantage over “Anderson Cooper 360” (879,000 vs. 790,000).


· “The Rachel Maddow Show” at 9 p.m. ranked #2 topping CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight” by 67% among A25-54 (269,000 vs. 161,000) and by 56% among total viewers (999,000 vs. 642,000). “Maddow” was ranked #1 among the younger demo of A18-34 for the fourth consecutive month.


· “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” (M-Fri) ranked #2 at 10 p.m. beating CNN among A25-54 (206,000 vs. 174,000) and total viewers (799,000 vs. 555,000).


· MSNBC is #1 in delivering African American viewers among cable news channels for the 37h consecutive month in M-Su Primetime.


MSNBC’s daytime and weekend program highlights include:


· MSNBC Daytime (M-F 9a-5p) ranked #2 among A25-54 for the month. Compared to Feb. 2012, MSNBC Daytime is up 29% with A25-54, 4% with total viewers and 25% with A18-34, more growth in the daypart than all cable news nets combined.


· “The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd” at 9 a.m. ranked #2 among total viewers for the 16th consecutive month (424,000 vs. CNN’s 415,000). Compared to Feb. 2013, “The Daily Rundown” is up 18% with A25-54 and 17% among A18-34.


· At 10 a.m., “Jansing and Co.” is up 11% in A25-54 from Feb. 2012.


· “MSNBC Live” with Thomas Roberts at 11 a.m. ranked #1 among A18-34 for the month. Compared to Feb. 2012, “MSNBC Live” is up 18% in A25-54, 6% with total viewers and 10% in A18-34.


· At noon, “NOW with Alex Wagner” ranked #1 among A18-34. Compared to Feb. 2012, “NOW” is up 35% in A25-54, 8% with total viewers, and 15% among A18-34.


· “Andrea Mitchell Reports” at 1 p.m. ET ranked #1 in A18-34. Compared to Feb. 2012, “Andrea Mitchell Reports” is up 62% with A25-54, 19% with total viewers, and 82% in A18-34.


· At 2 p.m., “NewsNation with Tamron Hall” was up 56% with A25-54, 3% with total viewers and 65% in A18-34 over Feb. 2012.


· “The Cycle” at 3 p.m. grew 13% with A25-54 and 25% with A18-34 compared to Feb. 2012.


· “Martin Bashir” at 4 p.m. increased 31% with A25-54, 21% with total viewers and 19% with A18-34 over Feb. 2012.


· “Weekends with Alex Witt” on Saturdays (noon – 2p) was up 110% in A25-54 compared to Feb. 2012, more growth than all cable news programs in the hour combined. “Witt” was also up 9% in total viewers and 154% in A18-34 from Feb. 2012.


· “Up w/Chris Hayes” on Sundays (8 a.m. – 10 a.m.) topped CNN by 20% among A25-54 (139,000 vs. 116,000). Compared to Feb. 2012, “Up” increased 17% in A18-34.


· “Melissa Harris-Perry” on Sundays (10 a.m. –noon) ranked #1 with A18-34 for the month.


· MSNBC ranked #1 in A25-54 in Weekend Sales Prime (Sa/Su 7p-2a), topping CNN by 91% (201,000 vs. 105,000) and FNC by 51% (201,000 vs. 133,000).


· Among younger viewers A18-34, MSNBC Longform ranks #1 in Weekend Sales Prime (Sa/Su 7p-2a) for the 52nd consecutive month.