MediaBuzz vs. Reliable Sources: The Ratings

By A.J. Katz 

Americans are searching for news outlets they can trust to better understand what’s happening across the country and the world. Unfortunately, cable news’ propensity to attack one another’s credibility doesn’t always help matters. CNN, Fox News and MSNBC have never particularly liked one another, but their attacks on eachother have seemed particuarly vicious in 2019. The heated cable news rivalry may be due in part to a president who is more obsessed with cable news –and seemingly more OK with making that obsession public– than any other president, or frankly any other political figure we’ve seen.

As we continue to move through the Donald Trump presidency, the media has become a increasingly significant part of the American story, which has led to plenty of media-on-media coverage. For a while, it was just Hannity who was attacking CNN and MSNBC. Now, it seems like everyone is attacking everyone.

But as for the two cable news programs charged with covering the media, how are they doing in the ratings?


FNC’s MediaBuzz with Howard Kurtz remains the No. 1 media criticism show, which makes CNN’s Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter No. 2. The two shows air head-to-head at 11 a.m. ET on Sundays. MSNBC airs AM Joy with Joy Reid at 11 a.m. Sundays. AM Joy has actually pulled of Reliable Sources in total viewers, but Reliable continues to lead AM Joy in the key A25-54 demo.

While Kurtz has been a dominant No. 1 among total viewers, all three shows are closer in the ad-friendly A25-54 demographic.

Here’s how the shows compare over the first 10 Sundays of the 2019 Nielsen calendar year:

  • Sundays 11 a.m. ET from Dec 30, 2018 – March 3, 2019:

Program – Total Viewers / A25-54 demo
FNC’s MediaBuzz –  1,326,000 / 239,000
CNN’s Reliable Sources –  871,000 / 214,000
MSNBC’s AM Joy –  1,044,000 / 172,000