MSNBC July 2020 Ratings: MSNBC Averages More Than 2 Million Viewers, and Rachel Maddow’s July 16 Broadcast Set Network Records

By A.J. Katz Comment

In July 2020, MSNBC was successfully able to maintain its status as the second-most-watched network on basic cable, averaging an impressive 2.1 million viewers in prime time and 1.2 million in total day.

Compared with its June ratings, MSNBC managed to post +1% growth in total prime-time audience, but -1% in total day viewers. The network continues to lose Adults 25-54, -7% in the prime-time demo and -9% in the total day demo.

MSNBC finished behind both Fox News and CNN in the advertiser-friendly category this past month. The network has had trouble holding on to the key demo, losing to CNN in prime time five months in a row. The network hopes moving Joy Reid to 7 p.m. will inject new life (and a slightly younger audience) into the hour. It remains to be seen if that happens.

On the positive side, MSNBC posted more year-over-year growth than Fox News in July, and compared with its July 2019 ratings, MSNBC was +39% in total prime-time viewers, +35% in the prime-time demo, +40% in total day viewers and +39% in the total day demo.

The average impressions for July 2020 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):

  • Prime time (Mon.-Sun.):  2.084,000 total viewers / 299,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon.-Sun.):  1,197,000 total viewers / 174,000 A25-54

Deadline: White House (hosted by Nicolle Wallace), The Rachel Maddow Show and The 11th Hour with Brian Williams had standout months. Deadline was the most-watched cable news show in the 4 p.m. hour, and Rachel Maddow’s interview with Mary Trump on July 16 earned the largest audience in show history (5.23 million viewers). The 11th Hour earned its largest monthly audience in program history. Additionally, The ReidOut drew 2.6 million viewers in its premiere, second-highest-rating ever for a regularly scheduled 7 p.m. show on the network.

Here’s the July 2020 ratings press release from MSNBC:

 MSNBC IS #2 ACROSS ALL OF CABLE, GROWS MORE THAN FOX NEWS IN JULY
“Morning Joe” Achieves Double-Digit Growth, Grows More Than FOX News and Beats CNN for the 65th Straight Month in Total Viewers and for the 33rd Straight Month in A25-54
“Deadline: White House” Wins at 4pm in Total Viewers, Beating FOX News and CNN for the 2nd Month in a Row
“The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” is #1 in Total Viewers at 11pm, Topping FOX News and CNN
“The Rachel Maddow Show” Delivers its Best Audience Performance in Network History Among Total Viewers, Beats CNN for the 86th Month in a Row
MSNBC Dominates CNN in Total Viewers in Total Day (M-Su 6am-6am), Dayside (M-F 9am-5pm) and Prime (M-Su 8pm-11pm)
“The ReidOut” Premiere Draws 2.6M Total Viewers, Scores the 2nd Highest-Rating Ever for a Regularly Scheduled Show at 7pm in MSNBC History, Posts Largest Lead over CNN Since Dec. 2019
NEW YORK (July 28, 2020) – MSNBC’s breaking news and analysis propelled all key dayparts to growth compared to July 2019 as the network again finished the month as the #2 network in all of cable, according to Nielsen. Total day (M-Su 6am-6am), dayside (M-F 9am-5pm), prime (M-Su 8pm-11pm) and weekend total day (Sa-Su 6am-6am) all delivered double-digit year-over-year growth in total viewers and easily topped FOX News’ growth for the time period.
MSNBC total day (M-Su 6am-6am) bested CNN in total viewers (1.2M vs. CNN’s 1M) and ranked #2 across all of cable for the 3rd month in a row (ahead of #3 CNN, #4 HGTV and #32 ESPN). MSNBC more than doubled FOX News’ growth in both total viewers (+41% vs. FOX News’ +19%) and A25-54 (+40% vs. FOX News’ +16%) compared to July 2019.
Dayside ranked #2 among all cable networks (ahead of #3 CNN, #4 HGTV and #29 ESPN) and topped CNN in total viewers for the 3rd straight month (1.4M vs. CNN’s 1.2M). Dayside more than tripled FOX News’ growth (+45% vs. FOX News’ +13%) compared to July 2019.
Prime (M-Su 8pm-11pm) dominated CNN for the 44th straight month in total viewers (2.1M vs. CNN’s 1.5M). July marked the 6th straight month that MSNBC prime was ranked #2 among all cable networks in total viewers (ahead of #4 CNN, #5 HGTV and #20 ESPN). Compared to July 2019, MSNBC was up more than FOX News in total viewers +38% (vs. FOX News’ +31%) and increased A25-54 viewership by +36%.
“Morning Joe” at 6am scored 1.3M total viewers, ranking #2 in cable news, easily topping CNN’s 634K for the 65th consecutive month. “Morning Joe” also ranked #2 among A25-54 (208K vs. CNN’s 152K), beating CNN for the 33rd consecutive month. In total viewers, “Morning Joe” grew by +37% while FOX News was up by only +4% compared to July 2019. In A25-54, “Morning Joe” was up while FOX News was down (+39% vs. FOX News’ -2%) year over year.
“Deadline: White House” at 4pm was again #1 across all of cable news in total viewers for the 2nd month in a row averaging 2M viewers, sweeping FOX News (1.7M) and CNN (1.4M). “Deadline” more than doubled FOX News’ growth among total viewers (+47% vs. FOX News’ +21%) compared to July 2019. In A25-54, “Deadline” was up +51% year over year.
“The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” at 11pm delivered its best monthly audience performance in network history, beating CNN for the 48th straight month and reigning at #1 in cable news in the time period in total viewers (2.1M vs. CNN’s 1.1M and FOX News’ 2M). Compared to July 2019, “The 11th Hour” was up (+47% vs. FOX News’ +42%). It was also up +44% in A25-54 viewership.
“The Rachel Maddow Show” posted its best delivery ever in July. “Maddow” averaged a record 3.5M total viewers (vs. CNN’s 2M) ranking #2 in the hour and topping CNN for the 86th month in a row. “Maddow” was up by +34% in total viewers (vs. FOX News’ +32%) compared to July 2019 and up +30% in A25-54. Additionally, the July 16 broadcast, which featured Mary Trump’s first cable news interview, not only scored “Maddow’s” highest-rated hour in “Maddow’s” 12-year history, it was also the highest-rated regularly scheduled show ever on MSNBC.
MSNBC’s premiere of “The ReidOut” on July 20 hosted by Joy Reid drew a record 2.6M total viewers, topping FOX News (2.1M) and CNN (1.3M). The show, which featured presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Mayors Keisha Lance Bottoms and Lori Lightfoot, posted the 2nd highest-rating ever for a regularly scheduled show at 7pm in MSNBC history. The initial episode scored MSNBC’s largest win over CNN (+783K) since December 2019. This is also the closest MSNBC has been to FOX News in the hour since January 2019, closing the gap by 92K.
The following programs also beat CNN among total viewers: “MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle” at 9am topped CNN for the 42nd straight month; “MSNBC Live with Hallie Jackson” at 10am topped CNN for the 3rd straight month; “Andrea Mitchell Reports” at 12pm topped CNN for the month; “Deadline: White House Special” at 3pm topped CNN for the 3rd straight month; “MTP Daily” at 5pm topped CNN for the 3rd straight month; “The Beat with Ari Melber” at 6pm topped CNN for the 3rd straight month; “MSNBC Live/The ReidOut” topped CNN for the month; “All In with Chris Hayes” at 8pm topped CNN for the month and “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” at 10pm topped CNN for the 62nd straight month and delivered a record-breaking month in total viewers.
“Velshi” on Saturdays at 8am ranked #2 for the 2nd month in a row and posted the largest lead over CNN in the hour since February 2014 in total viewers. “Velshi” increased viewership in the 8am hour, growing more than CNN and FOX News (+65% vs. CNN’s +41% and FOX News’ +6%) compared to July 2019. “AM Joy” on Saturdays at 10am ranked #2 for the 2nd month in a row in total viewers increasing viewership by +25% (vs. FOX News’ +7%) compared to July 2019.
MSNBC weekend total day (Sa-Su 6am-6am) grew more than FOX News in total viewers and A25-54. In total viewers, weekend total day was up +28% (vs. FOX News’ +10%) and up by +29% in A25-54 (vs. FOX News’ +10%) compared to July 2019.
NOTE: July ratings are based on Nielsen most current data day for 06/29/2020-7/26/2020. Individual show data for the month represents regular programming only, excluding specials and breaking news.
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