More African-Americans Watched MSNBC Last Year Than Any Other Cable Network in Prime Time

By A.J. Katz 

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In 2017, MSNBC was the most-watched cable network among African-Americans in weekday prime time.

Per Nielsen, the network averaged 483,096 African-American viewers across its weekday prime time programming of All In With Chris Hayes, The Rachel Maddow Show and The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell.

That’s a larger total than CNN, VH1, ESPN, OWN, TNT and BET.

2017: Monday – Friday, 8 – 11 p.m. ET (Nielsen Live+SD data)

2017 rank Network (000)
’17 vs. ’16
1 MSNBC 483,096 50%
2 VH1 467,189 7%
3 ESPN 458,651 3%
4 OWN 330,729 -21%
5 TNT 322,525 6%
6 BET 322,330 3%
7 Nickelodeon 312,574 7%
8 CNN 306,359 5%
9 USA 286,537 -7%
10 Adult Swim 212,464 -28%

Additionally, MSNBC posted more total African-American viewer growth than the other Top 10 basic cable networks combined, +50 percent.

The network ranked No. 4 in 2016, averaging nearly 321,000 African American viewers in weekday prime, and No. 15 in total African American viewers in 2015 (157,832 in weekday prime.)

CNN, the only cable news network where an African American hosts a regularly-scheduled prime time program (Don Lemon), ranked No. 8 in African-American viewership across cable in 2017, and grew +5 percent over 2016.

Despite being the go-to cable network on weeknights among African Americans, MSNBC does not feature an African American host in the daypart. Craig Melvin is the lone African American with his own hour on weekdays (1 p.m. ET).

Joy Reid occasionally subs in for Hayes, Maddow and O’Donnell in weekday prime time, and hosts her own show AM Joy on weekends from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. ET. The Rev. Al Sharpton hosts Politics Nation, Sundays at 8 a.m. ET.