MSNBC Wins Its First Week Ever in Prime Time

By Chris Ariens 

Fox News Channel finished third among the advertiser-coveted A25-54 demo in prime time last week. That hasn’t happened during a regular week of programming in nearly 17 years.

A slew of bad news headlines about the Trump administration filled the cable news airwaves last week. MSNBC and CNN were the biggest beneficiaries of those stories which included details of Pres. Trump’s White House meeting with Russian diplomats and news of fired FBI Director James Comey‘s interactions with Pres. Trump. Those stories led to traffic records for the publications that broke the news, and days-worth of coverage on cable news.

The softness of Fox News’ prime time is also due to the fact that the network shook up its prime time late last month following the sudden departure of Bill O’Reilly, who had the most-watched show on cable news. This was the most-significant prime time lineup change since 2013.


The last time FNC finished third in the prime time demo during a regular week of programming was the week of June, 9, 2000. The only other week since then was during the DNC in 2016 when FNC trailed CNN and MSNBC.

And Fox News’s loss is MSNBC’s gain. MSNBC finished as the No. 1 cable news network for the first time in the network’s history.

May 15-19, 2017, 8-11 p.m. ET | Total Viewers / A25-54 Demo
MSNBC 2,440,000 / 611,000
CNN 1,649,000 / 589,000
FNC 2,405,000 / 497,000

Last week was also the second week in a row MSNBC’s weekday prime won in the demo. MSNBC was the No. 2 most watched network on all of cable, only behind TNT which has been carrying the NBA Playoffs. In the demo, MSNBC was No. 5 overall.

Total Viewers (8-11 p.m. average)
1. TNT 3.177 million
2. MSNBC 2.440
3. FOXNC 2.405
4. CNN 1.649
5. USA 1.421
6. NBCSN 1.342
7. TBS 1.325
8. NICK 1.312
9. HGTV 1.251
10. ESPN 1.239

A25-54 (8-11 p.m. average)
1. TNT 1.612
2. TBS 711,000
3. NBCSN 685,000
4. USA 617,000
5. MSNBC 611,000
6. CNN 589,000
7. ESPN 569,000
8. FOXNC 497,000
9. HIST 470,000
10. DISC 457,000