January 2019 Ratings: MSNBC Is Home to the No. 1 Show on Cable News

By A.J. Katz Comment

MSNBC was the second-most-watched network on cable television for the month of January. It also posted +14 percent growth in total day and +6 percent growth in prime time vs. January 2018.

Not only did NBCU’s politics-focused cable network post year-over-year total audience growth, but more Americans tuned into MSNBC for their late-night cable news fix than any other cable news network. Per Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, MSNBC was No. 1 in total viewers during the 9 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. timeslots, anchored by Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell and Brian Williams, respectively.

The Rachel Maddow Show was the No. 1 cable news program for the month of January across all relevant categories. TRMS averaged 3.29 million total viewers for the month, which is the largest total viewer delivery for a 9 p.m. show in the history of the network.

The Last Word and The 11th Hour also set total audience records for a month, with the former averaging 2.57 million during the 10 p.m. hour, and the latter averaging 1.85 million during the 11 p.m. hour.

MSNBC also seems to have found something with Deadline: White House. Hosted by Nicolle Wallace, the show ranked No. 1 in total viewers during the 4 p.m. hour this month.

Despite broadcasting from remote locales, Morning Joe delivered the show’s best month ever when it came to total viewers (1.2 million) and beat CNN across the board in January. Compared to January 2018, Morning Joe was +14 percent in total viewers, whereas Fox & Friends was -10 percent and New Day was +4 percent.

No cable news program posted more year-over-year total audience growth this month than Morning Joe.

Multiple MSNBC programs achieved ratings records and posted year-over-year total audience growth this month, aided by what was an especially bad news month for the president. But not everything came up roses for MSNBC in January 2019. The network continues to lose traction with younger news viewers. In fact, the network was -15 percent in the prime time demo, and -12 percent in the total day demo vs. January 2018.

That’s a cause for concern.

CNN has been creeping up on MSNBC in the prime time demo in recent months, and finally surpassed its rival in January. Will that continue?

The ratings for January, 2019 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):

  • Prime time (Mon-Sun):  1,977,000 total viewers / 349,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 1,138,000 total viewers / 198,000 A25-54

Here’s MSNBC press release:

MSNBC WINS EVERY HOUR FROM 9PM TO MIDNIGHT AS “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” CONTINUES REIGN AS THE #1 CABLE NEWS SHOW IN JANUARY

“Maddow” is the #1 Non-Sports Cable Program from 6am to Midnight

“The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” at 10pm and “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” at 11pm Are #1 in A25-54 and Total Viewers

“Morning Joe” Dominates CNN in A25-54 for the 15th Straight Month and Beats CNN in Total Viewers for the 47th Straight Month

“Deadline: White House” at 4pm is #1 in Total Viewers in Record Month, Tops FOX News in A25-54

“Hardball with Chris Matthews” at 7pm is #1 in Total Viewers for 1st Time Ever

MSNBC Weekdays 7pm-12am is #1 in Total Viewers for the 2nd Month in a Row

MSNBC Total Day (M-Su 6am-6am) and Dayside (M-F 9am-5pm) Rank #2 Across All Cable in Total Viewers

Every MSNBC Show from 5am to Midnight Beat CNN in Total Viewers, With Record Viewership

“AM Joy” (Sa-Su 10am-12pm) and “Kasie DC” (Su 7-9pm) Top CNN in Total Viewers

NEW YORK (January 29, 2019) – MSNBC won every hour from 9pm to midnight for the month of January, with “The Rachel Maddow Show” at 9pm, “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” at 10pm and “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” all beating FOX News and CNN in both A25-54 and total viewers for their hours, according to Nielsen.

“Maddow” continued its reign as the #1 cable news program in both A25-54 and total viewers for the 2nd month in a row. Across all of cable, “Maddow” was the #1 non-sports show between 6am and midnight. “Maddow” averaged 606,000 viewers A25-54 (vs. FOX News’ 529,000 and CNN’s 462,000) and 3.29M total viewers – the highest total-viewer delivery ever in MSNBC history at 9pm (vs. FOX News’ 3.01M and CNN’s 1.54M).

In a record month among total viewers, “The Last Word” averaged 2.57M total viewers (vs. FOX News’ 2.26M and CNN’s 1.33M) and 439,000 viewers A25-54 (vs. FOX News’ 415,000 and CNN’s 425,000). “The 11th Hour” averaged 331,000 viewers A25-54 (vs. FOX News’ 281,000 and CNN’s 325,000) and 1.84M total viewers (vs. FOX News’ 1.29M and CNN’s 964,000) with the show’s best total-viewer delivery ever.

“Morning Joe” at 6am once again dominated CNN in both A25-54 and total viewers for the month. “Morning Joe” averaged 1.20M in total viewers (vs. CNN’s 618,000), doubling CNN in a record month. In A25-54, “Morning Joe” averaged 234,000 (vs. CNN’s 189,000).

For the 2nd month in a row, “Deadline: White House” at 4pm was #1 in total viewers in a record month and beat FOX News in A25-54. “Deadline: White House” averaged 1.83M total viewers (vs. FOX News’ 1.50M and CNN’s 1.17M) and 260,000 viewers A25-54 (vs. FOX News’ 249,000).

“Hardball with Chris Matthews” at 7pm was #1 in total viewers in January – the 1st time ever that MSNBC beat FOX News at 7pm. “Hardball” averaged 1.93M total viewers (vs. FOX News’ 1.89M and CNN’s 1.16M), the program’s best-ever total viewer ratings.

MSNBC weekdays 7pm-12am was #1 in total viewers for the 2nd month in a row. MSNBC weekdays 7pm-12am averaged 2.21M (vs. FOX News’ 2.14M and CNN’s 1.27M). In prime (M-F 8-11pm), MSNBC ranked #3 across all cable networks, ahead of #4 CNN.

MSNBC total day (M-Su 6am-6am) and dayside (M-F 9am-5pm) both ranked #2 across all cable television in total viewers. In total day, MSNBC was up +14% over January 2018 (ahead of #3 ESPN and #4 CNN). In dayside, MSNBC was up +25% over January 2018 (ahead of #3 CNN and #4 Nickelodeon).

In January, every MSNBC program from 5am-3am beat CNN in total viewers. “Morning Joe First Look” at 5am beat CNN for the 15th straight month and delivered a record month; “MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle” at 9am beat CNN for the 24th straight month and delivered a record month; “MSNBC Live with Hallie Jackson” at 10am beat CNN for the 16th straight month and delivered a record month; “MSNBC Live with Craig Melvin” at 11am beat CNN for the 4th straight month and delivered a record month; “Andrea Mitchell Reports” at 12pm beat for the 19th straight month and delivered a record month; “MSNBC Live with Velshi & Ruhle” at 1pm for the 4th straight month and delivered a record month; “MSNBC Live with Katy Tur” at 2pm beat CNN for the 3rd straight month and delivered a record month; and “MSNBC Live with Ali Velshi” at 3pm beat CNN for the 15th straight month and delivered a record month.

Additionally, “MTP Daily” at 5pm delivered a record month and beat CNN for the 21st straight month; “The Beat with Ari Melber” at 6pm delivered a record month and beat CNN for the 19th straight month; and “All In with Chris Hayes” at 8pm delivered a record month and beat CNN for the 26th straight month.

Several weekend programs also topped CNN in total viewers for the month. “AM Joy” at 10am beat CNN on Saturdays for the 16th straight month and Sundays for the 2nd straight month, with record Sunday delivery. “Kasie DC” on Sundays at 7pm topped CNN for the 10th month in a row.

NOTE: January 2019 ratings are based on Nielsen Live+Same data day for 12/31/18-1/27/19. Individual show data represents regular programming only, excluding specials and breaking news.

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