May 2019 Ratings: MSNBC Remains One of Basic Cable’s Most-Watched Networks, But Sees Losses Among Adults 25-54

By A.J. Katz Comment

MSNBC continues to deliver huge total audiences across multiple dayparts. In addition to finishing the month of May as a top five basic cable network in total viewers yet again, it defeated rival CNN for the 27th straight month in total day viewers, the 20th straight month in “dayside” viewers (Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.), 28th straight months in total prime time viewers.

While those accomplishments are indeed notable, the network, which leans left at night, appears to be losing some steam among adults 25-54.

The network was -26% in the prime time demo and -32% in the total day demo vs. what the network averaged in May 2018.

Even Rachel Maddow lost some traction in the key A25-54 demo, falling behind Fox News’ Hannity and Tucker Carlson in the key category this month (although finishing third across cable news isn’t exactly something to worry about).

MSNBC’s performance in total viewers relative to last year was far more consistent. Literally. The network was flat in total prime time viewers and flat in total day viewers vs. what it delivered in May 2018.

The average average for May 2019 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):

  • Prime time (Mon-Sun): 1,654,000 total viewers / 242,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 912,000 total viewers / 134,000 A25-54

Every weekday MSNBC program from 5 a.m. – 3 a.m. topped CNN in total viewers.

Maddow may be the main attraction, but Nicolle Wallace-hosted program Deadline: White House has become a force in the 4 p.m. hour. For the sixth consecutive month, Deadline defeated its 4 p.m. Fox News and CNN in total viewers.

The 11th Hour with Brian Williams also gave MSNBC a key win in his timeslot, defeating both Fox News and CNN in total viewers during the month of May.

Here’s MSNBC’s release:

MSNBC TOPS CNN AMONG TOTAL VIEWERS IN MAY
MSNBC Leads CNN for the 27th Straight Month in Total Day (M-Su 6am-6am), 20th Straight Month in Dayside (M-F 9am-5pm), 28th Straight Month in Prime (M-Su 8-11pm), and 4th Straight Month in Weekend Total Day (Sa-Su 6am-6am) Among Total Viewers
MSNBC Dayside is Up in Total Viewers While FOX News and CNN Are Down Compared to May 2018
“Morning Joe” Doubles CNN’s Viewership in Total Viewers, Tops CNN for the 51st Straight Month in Total Viewers and for 19th Straight Month in A25-54
“The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” is Again the #1 Program at 11pm in Total Viewers, Beats CNN for 34th Consecutive Month in Total Viewers and 6th Consecutive Month in A25-54
“Deadline: White House” is #1 at 4pm for the 6th Straight Month in Total Viewers, Bests CNN for 20th Month in a Row in Total Viewers
“The Rachel Maddow Show” Nearly Triples CNN’s Viewership, Tops CNN in Total Viewers for 72nd Consecutive Month and 28th Month in A25-54
“The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” at 10pm Beats CNN in Total Viewers for 48th Month in a Row and A25-54 for 6th Straight Month
“All In with Chris Hayes” at 8pm Bests CNN in Total Viewers for 30th Month in a Row and A25-54 for 3rd Month in a Row
“Hardball with Chris Matthews” at 7pm Beats CNN in Total Viewers for the 34th Month in a Row
Every MSNBC Weekday Program from 5am to 3am Beats CNN in Total Viewers, As Well As Weekends During “AM Joy” and “Kasie DC” and Saturdays During “Weekends with Alex Witt” and “UP with David Gura”
NEW YORK (May 29, 2019) – MSNBC continued its dominance over CNN by topping the network in total viewers during total day (M-Su 6am-6am), dayside (M-F 9am-5pm), prime (M-Su 8-11pm) and weekend total day (Sa-Su 6am-6am), according to Nielsen. May marked another month in which MSNBC handily bested CNN in total viewers: the 27th straight month in total day, 20th straight month in dayside, 28th straight month in prime and 4th straight month during weekend total day.
Across all of cable television, MSNBC was also the #2 most-watched network in total day and dayside among total viewers. In total day, MSNBC nearly doubled CNN in total viewers (912,000 vs. 553,000). In dayside, MSNBC averaged 975,000 total viewers (vs. CNN’s 654,000) (MSNBC ranked ahead of #3 CNN and #4 Nickelodeon). MSNBC was the only cable news network to grow during dayside, up +8% in total viewers (vs. FOX News’ -2% and CNN’s -8%) compared to May 2018.
“Morning Joe” at 6am dominated CNN in A25-54 for the 19th straight month and in total viewers for the 51st straight month. “Morning Joe” averaged 1.1M total viewers, doubling CNN (485,000). In A25-54, “Morning Joe” averaged 171,000 (vs. CNN’s 136,000).
“Deadline: White House” at 4pm again was #1 in total viewers, beating FOX News for the 6th month in a row and CNN for the last 20 months. “Deadline” averaged 1.4M total viewers (vs. FOX News’ 1.34M and CNN’s 706,000). In A25-54, “Deadline” averaged 166,000, beating CNN for the 3rd month in a row.
“Hardball with Chris Matthews” at 7pm topped CNN in total viewers for the 34th straight month. “Hardball” averaged 1.4M total viewers (vs. CNN’s 747,000).
“All In with Chris Hayes” at 8pm bested CNN in A25-54 for the 3rd month in a row and in total viewers for the 30th month in a row. “All In” averaged 234,000 viewers A25-54 (vs. CNN’s 217,000) and 1.6M total viewers (vs. CNN’s 912,000).
“The Rachel Maddow Show” at 9pm topped CNN in A25-54 for the 28th consecutive month and in total viewers for the 72nd straight month. “Maddow” averaged 410,000 viewers A25-54 (vs. CNN’s 228,000) and nearly tripled CNN in total viewers with 2.6M (vs. CNN’s 938,000).
“The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” at 10pm again bested CNN in both A25-54 and total viewers for the month. “The Last Word” more than doubled CNN in total viewers (2.04M vs. CNN’s 840,000) and beat CNN in A25-54 (289,000 vs. CNN’s 215,000).
“The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” was again #1 in total viewers at 11pm, topping FOX News and CNN. This was the 34th month in a row that “The 11th Hour” beat CNN in total viewers and 6th straight month in A25-54. “The 11th Hour” averaged 1.45M total viewers (vs. FOX News’ 1.43M and CNN’s 597,000).
Every weekday MSNBC program from 5am-3am topped CNN in total viewers, including: “Morning Joe First Look” at 5am for the 19th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle” at 9am for the 28th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Hallie Jackson” at 10am for the 20th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Craig Melvin” at 11am for the 20th straight month; “Andrea Mitchell Reports” at 12pm for the 23rd straight month; “MSNBC Live with Velshi & Ruhle” at 1pm for the 19th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Katy Tur” at 2pm for the 7th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Ali Velshi” at 3pm for the 19th straight month; “MTP Daily” at 5pm for the 25th straight month; and “The Beat with Ari Melber” at 6pm for the 23rd straight month.
Several weekends programs also beat CNN in total viewers, including: “AM Joy” at 10am on Saturdays for the 20th straight month and Sundays for the 6th straight month; “Kasie DC” on Sundays at 7pm for the 14th straight month; “Weekends with Alex Witt” at 12pm on Saturdays for the 5th straight month; and “UP with David Gura” at 8am on Saturdays for the 3rd straight month.
NOTE: May 2019 ratings are based on Nielsen Live+Same data day for 4/29/19-5/26/19. Unless specified, individual show data represents regular programming only, excluding specials and breaking news.
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