The news of the firing of James Comey as FBI Director broke just before 6 p.m. ET Tuesday, shaking up the cable news networks’ prime time plans, which benefited MSNBC the most.
The NBCU cable network had a rare first-place finish in prime time among the younger demo that matters most to advertisers of news. Fox News Channel still won total viewership. But Fox ended up in third place, behind CNN, among younger viewers.
- Prime time (8-11pm) Total Viewers / A25-54 viewers
FNC 3,307,000 / 700,000
MSNBC 2,856,000 / 738,000
CNN 1,865,000 / 719,000
The most-watched hour of the night was Tucker Carlson‘s at 8 p.m., averaging 3.443 million. Rachel Maddow‘s 9 p.m. hour wasn’t far behind in viewers with 3.354 million. In fact, Carlson and Maddow were the No. 2 and No. 3 shows on all of cable last night, after the NBA Playoffs on TNT. Maddow won A25-54, averaging 873,000, the only show on cable news to crack 800K in the coveted demo.
All three networks also produced new 11 p.m. hours, with MSNBC coming in first in both total viewers and the demo. MSNBC’s 11 p.m. hour anchored by Brian Williams averaged 2.16 million viewers and 576,000 in the demo; Bret Baier anchored on Fox News at 11 p.m. and drew 1.99 million viewers and 457,000 in the demo; CNN’s 11 p.m. hour anchored by Jake Tapper averaged 1.38 million viewers and 530,000 in the demo.