MSNBC Wins Night One from the DNC

By Chris Ariens 

MSNBC was the #1 cable news channel last night in primetime. We’re checking records, but it may be the first time in the network’s 16 years of existence it has ever won a night.* With coverage from the first night of the DNC, MSNBC averaged 3.298 million total viewers and 1.067 million demo viewers, ahead of CNN (3.003M / 1.002M) and Fox News (2.515M / 554K).

Compared to night one of the 2008 DNC, MSNBC was up +53% in total viewers in primetime while CNN was down -23% and Fox News was down -17%

In the 10pm hour, NBC led the way followed by MSNBC, which drew a combined 9.1 million viewers. MSNBC was the only network to grow vs. 2008, with NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN and FNC down.

  • 10pm, Sept. 4, 2012. Night one of the DNC:

NBC: 5,021,551 viewers (1,929,345 in A25-54)
MSNBC: 4,106,622 viewers (1,431,929 in A25-54)
CNN: 3,887,789 viewers (1,367,998 in A25-54)
ABC: 3,236,553 viewers (1,142,927 in A25-54)
CBS: 3,268,520 viewers (1,056,844 in A25-54)
FNC: 2,397,710 viewers (550,149 in 25-54)

22 million watched the 10pm hour on the commercial broadcast and cable networks last night. In comparison, night one of the RNC a week ago was watched by 20.5 million, mostly on Fox News Channel, which averaged 5.15 million viewers in primetime.

  • 10pm, Aug. 28, 2012. Night one of the RNC:

FNC: 6,878,804 viewers (1,679,763 in 25-54)
NBC: 4,770,050 viewers (1,725,282 in 25-54)
CBS: 3,118,927 viewers (938,237 in 25-54)
ABC: 2,862,656 viewers (920,346 in 25-54)
CNN: 1,473,885 viewers (413,467 in 25-54
MSNBC: 1,468,348 viewers (411,738 in 25-54)

On night one of the 2008 DNC, CNN drew the most viewers on cable news, and also beat ABC and CBS in the 10pm hour. In 2008, the cable networks saw triple digit viewer growth and double digit A25-54 growth from night one of the 2004 DNC.

* MSNBC last won primetime Sept. 7, 2011 when the network aired a GOP primary debate from the Reagan Library. This is the first political convention night and first head-to-head programming win for the network since it launched in July, 1995.