July 2011 Ratings: Schultz, ‘Joe’ and ‘Hardball’ Up at MSNBC, O’Donnell Down

By Alex Weprin 

With a major political story to cover in the form of the debt-ceiling debate, MSNBC did not succumb to the Summer ratings doldrums that can so easily grip TV networks in July. Quite to the contrary, the network was up double-digits nearly across the board, albeit with a significant exception.

The ratings for July, 2011:

  • Primetime (Mon-Sun): 758K Total Viewers / 251K A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 446K Total Viewers / 161K A25-54

Year-over-year, MSNBC is up double digits: up +14% in Total Viewers and up +11% in adults 25-54 for total day viewing and up +11% in Total Viewers and up +9% in A25-54 in primetime. MSNBC continued to top CNN in primetime in both total and demo viewers, but it placed behind both a Casey Anthony-fueled HLN and Fox News Channel in both categories.

Nearly every MSNBC program was up double-digits compared to the same time period last year. The exception was 8 PM’s “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell,” which was down -9% in total viewers and -15% in the demo compared to 2010, when Keith Olbermann helmed the timeslot. 6 PM also underperformed when compared to the shows around, remaining flat in total viewers and gaining only +8% in the demo. Cenk Uyger, who had been anchoring in that slot, left MSNBC, and no formal replacement has been announced, although it is widely believed that Al Sharpton will get the nod.

“Hardball,” “The Ed Show” and “Morning Joe” were some of MSNBC’s strongest performers in July. The morning show was up +31% in total viewers and +42% in the demo compared to last year, placing third in both categories behind “Fox & Friends” and HLN’s “Morning Express.”

“Hardball” was up +39% in total viewers and +54% in the demo at 4 PM, while Ed Schultz was up +43% in total viewers and +35% in the demo. Rachel Maddow was also up double-digits.

The release from MSNBC:


NEW YORK –August 2, 2011 – MSNBC continued to beat CNN in primetime among total viewers and demo for the month of July 2011, according to data from Nielsen Media Research. MSNBC topped CNN by 20% among A25-54 and by 31% among total viewers. This is the 4th consecutive monthly win over CNN in Weekday Prime. CNN ranked #4 for the second month in a row, behind sister network HLN. MSNBC also beat CNN in the morning, with “Morning Joe” ranking #2 among total viewers for the 4th consecutive month.

Following are MSNBC ratings highlights for July:

“Morning Joe” beat CNN’s “American Morning” in all key demos, including total viewers (461,000 vs. 249,000 CNN) and A25-54 (161,000 vs. 97,000). “Morning Joe” ranked #2 among total viewers for the 4th consecutive month, beating “American Morning” for the 4th straight month and HLN’s “Morning Express with Robin Meade” for the 19th consecutive month. Compared to July 2010, “Morning Joe” is up in all key demos, including 42% growth in A25-54, 20% growth among total viewers, and 100% growth among the younger demo of A18-34.

“Hardball with Chris Matthews” beat CNN at both 5 p.m. and 7 p.m among total viewer and A25-54. At 5 p.m., “Hardball” topped CNN’s “The Situation Room” by 15% in total viewers (733,000 vs. 639,000) and 22% among A25-54 (185,000 vs. 152,000). Compared to July 2010, “Hardball” at 5 p.m. was up double digits across the board in all key ratings categories, including 54% among A25-54, while Fox News Channel at 5 p.m. was down double digits in all key ratings categories.

At 7 p.m., “Hardball” topped CNN’s “John King USA” by 45% in total viewers (723,000 vs. 500,000) and 22% among A25-54 (190,000 vs. 156,000). Compared to July 2010, “Hardball” at 7 p.m. is up 24% in total viewers and 12% among A25-54.

At 8 p.m., MSNBC topped CNN for the 41st consecutive month among total viewers. “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” beat CNN by 41% in A25-54 (214,000 vs. 152,000) and 63% among total viewers (870,000 vs. 535,000).

“The Rachel Maddow Show” beat CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight” for the month of July by 44% among total viewers (974,000 vs. 678,000) and in A25-54 (292,000 vs. 202,000), marking the 18th consecutive monthly win over CNN in total viewers. Compared to July 2010, Maddow is up 24% in A25-54 and 9% among total viewers.

“The Ed Show” at 10 p.m. topped “Anderson Cooper” on CNN by 15% in total viewers (872,000 vs. 760,000). Compared to MSNBC at 10 p.m. in July 2010, “The Ed Show” is up 50% in total viewers and 42% in A25-54.

MSNBC is No. 1 among African American viewers in M-Su Primetime. May marks the 18th consecutive month MSNBC has been the #1 network among African Americans in primetime.

In weekend sales prime (Saturday and Sunday 7p-2a), MSNBC’s longform programming ranked No. 1, beating CNN and Fox News Channel among A25-54 for the 2nd straight month. Among younger viewers A18-34, MSNBC ranked No. 1 for the 33rd straight month.