MSNBC Had a Record Week on the Weekday Ratings Front

By A.J. Katz 

The worse the news is for President Trump (Michael Cohen & Paul Manafort), the better the ratings are for MSNBC. Especially in prime time.

For the week of Aug. 20, MSNBC was the No. 1 cable network for weekday prime (Mon-Fri, 8 – 11 p.m. ET). Ironically, the last time MSNBC had earned a No. 1 ranking in weekday prime time hours was slightly more than a year ago, the week of Aug. 14, 2017. This is according to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data.

Nielsen ratings for the entire calendar week (Monday – Sunday) will be released tomorrow, and it’s very possible that Fox News and CNN move past MSNBC for the week, considering the latter network’s lack of original programming on weekends in prime time (with the exception of Kasie DC from 7 – 9). Fox News and CNN, on the other hand, air original programming on weekends in prime time.


That report will publish tomorrow.

The wild news cycle gave MSNBC an especially massive lift during daytime hours. MSNBC dayside (Mon – Fri, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET) averaged 1.25 million total viewers, it’s largest average audience in that daypart since the week of March 24, 2003.

Then, there’s Maddow. The Rachel Maddow Show was the No. 1 show across all of cable television last week. In total viewers, TRMS averaged 3.3 million. That’s more than Hannity’s 3 million and Cuomo Prime Time’s 1.5 million. Maddow also defeated her two 9 p.m. competitors in the key A25-54 category, averaging 677,000 A2-554 viewers (vs. FNC’s 565,000 and CNN’s 501,000).

Her Tuesday broadcast was the show’s second-most-watched ever.

The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell earned a rare across the board win at 10 p.m., knocking off FNC’s The Ingraham Angle and CNN Tonight in total viewers (2.6 million vs. 2.3 million vs. 1.4 million) and among the key A25-54 demo (482,000 vs. 432,000 vs. 474,000).

The 11th Hour with Brian Williams won his time slot across the board. The program averaged nearly 2.1 million viewers last week, MSNBC’s best-rated regularly scheduled program at 11pm in the history of the network.

MSNBC Live with Ali Velshi at 3pm and Deadline: White House at 4pm were each No.1 in total viewers during their respective hours, with the former averaging 1.2 million total viewers, and the latter averaging 1.7 million viewers. For Deadline, hosted by Nicolle Wallace, the week of Aug. 20, 2018 was the show’s most-watched week on record.

Morning Joe averaged 1.27 million viewers last week, its largest average audience in the program’s history, while The Beat with Ari Melber set a new average total audience record of its own (1.7 million viewers).