Nov. 2019 Ratings: MSNBC Delivered Some of Its Largest Weekday Audiences In Network History

By A.J. Katz Comment

November was one of the most-watched months of the year for MSNBC.

Not only that, but the NBCU politics-focused cable network posted record total viewer highs in total day (Monday-Sunday, 6 a.m. – 6 a.m.), dayside (Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.) and in Monday – Friday prime time. The network received a significant lift from highly-rated daytime impeachment coverage (highly-rated in total viewers, that is), and a Democratic primary debate in prime time.

Among all cable networks in Nov. 2019, MSNBC ranked No. 2 in total viewers in total day and No. 3 in prime time.

Compared with Nov. 2018, MSNBC was +18% in total day viewers (6 a.m. – 6 a.m.) and +12% in total prime time viewers. Among adults 25-54, MSNBC was +6% in prime time and +5% in total day.

Neither Fox News nor CNN could claim year-over-year growth in all of those measurements and dayparts.

The ratings for Nov., 2019 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):

  • Prime time (Mon-Sun): 2,060,000 total viewers / 352,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 1,208,000 total viewers / 190,000 A25-54

According to MSNBC’s press release (shown below), Rachel Maddow was No. 1 on cable news among adults 25-54, averaging 572,000 demo viewers, vs. 554,000 for Hannity. However, according to another Nielsen data source, Hannity was No. 1 in the demo, averaging 552,000 for 17 first-run telecasts in November, whereas 19 telecasts of Tucker Carlson averaged 551,000 and 19 telecasts of Maddow averaged only 540,000. Both Hannity and Carlson received a ratings boost from a number of Trump rallies which took place during their respective hours, which were televised. MSNBC did not televise any Trump rallies at 9 p.m. this month, to the best of my knowledge.

What can’t be argued between the two networks is that Maddow had her most-watched month since January (3.2 million), and was +9% in total viewers from the prior November, a month that featured a midterm election.

In November, The 11th Hour with Brian Williams continued to perform well at 11 p.m. The show ranked No. 1 in its timeslot among adults 25-54 for the 2nd consecutive month, and No. 1 in total viewers for the 4th consecutive month, beating CNN Tonight with Don Lemon and Fox News @ Night with Shannon Bream. In A25-54, The 11th Hour was the only program to grow viewership (+9%) while Fox and CNN were down double digits from Nov. 2018.

Deadline: White House with Nicolle Wallace was the most-watched cable news show at 4 p.m. for the third straight month, averaging a record 2 million total viewers. And for the first time in program history, Deadline was one of the 10-most-watched cable news shows for a month.

Additionally, MSNBC’s coverage of the impeachment hearings into Pres. Trump led MSNBC to its best week ever in network history for total day.

But there were some negatives for MSNBC. With the exception of Maddow, the network continues to struggle a bit with capturing adults 25-54 compared to recent years. Even TRMS is down in the demo, despite ranking high on the cable news totem pole in the category.

Additionally, the MSNBC-Washington Post Democratic primary debate on Nov. 20 ended up being the lowest-rated of the election cycle so far.

Here’s MSNBC’s release:

MSNBC SCORES RECORD TOTAL-VIEWER HIGHS; “MADDOW” IS AGAIN #1 IN A25-54 AT 9PM IN NOVEMBER

“Morning Joe” More than Doubles CNN in Total Viewers, Beating CNN in Total Viewers for the 57th Straight Month and in A25-54 for the 25th Straight Month

MSNBC Total Day (M-Su 6am-6am) and Dayside (M-F 9am-5pm) are #2 Across all of Cable, Growing More Than FOX News and CNN in Total Viewers

MSNBC Dayside Beats CNN in Total Viewers; Has Best Month in Network History and Widest Lead Over CNN with Nearly 500K Viewers

MSNBC Prime (M-F 8pm-11pm) Breaks MSNBC Record, Achieves Highest Lead Over CNN Ever

“The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” at 11pm Reigns at #1 in A25-54 for the 2nd Straight Month and in Total Viewers for the 4th Straight Month

“Deadline: White House” at 4pm is Again #1 for the 3rd Consecutive Month in Total Viewers in Record-Breaking Month

“All In with Chris Hayes” at 8pm Beats CNN in A25-54 for the 2nd Month in a Row and for the 36th Month in a Row in Total Viewers

“The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” at 10pm Tops CNN for the 12th Straight Month in A25-54 and the 54th Straight Month in Total Viewers

Every Weekday Hour Between 5am-3am Dominates CNN Among Total Viewers, On Saturdays “AM Joy” Tops CNN for the 25th Straight Month

Impeachment Hearings Lead MSNBC to Its Highest Rated Week on November 18th Among Total Viewers in Total Day and Dayside

NEW YORK (November 26, 2019) – MSNBC total day (M-Su 6am-6am), dayside (M-F 9am-5pm) and prime (M-F 8pm-11pm) capped November with record-total viewer highs, according to Nielsen.

MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” won the 9pm hour for the 2nd month in a row among regularly scheduled programming, topping FOX News and CNN in A25-54. This was the 34th month in a row that “Maddow” beat CNN. “Maddow” averaged 572,000 viewers A25-54 (vs. FOX News’ 554,000 for “Hannity” with specials and CNN’s 298,000) and 3.3M total viewers (vs. CNN’s 1.3M). “Maddow” delivered its highest total viewership since January 2019 and was up +9% in total viewers since November 2018, more than CNN (-3%).

MSNBC topped CNN in both A25-54 and total viewers in total day. In total day, MSNBC was the only cable news network to grow in A25-54 (+5%) while FOX News and CNN were down (FOX News -11% and CNN -21%) compared to November 2018. In total viewers, MSNBC grew more than the competition +10% (vs. FOX News’ +8% and CNN’s 0%) compared to November 2018. Total day averaged 1.2M total viewers (vs. CNN’s 767,000) and 194,000 viewers A25-54 (vs. CNN’s 183,000).

In November, MSNBC dayside achieved record viewership in both total viewers and A25-54. In total viewers, MSNBC had its best month in network history averaging 1.5M total viewers and beating CNN by a record 471,000. In A25-54, dayside averaged 208,000 viewers, the highest for the network since November 2008. Dayside viewership increased +19% in A25-54 compared to November 2018 growing more than FOX News (-5%) and CNN (+3%). In total viewers, dayside ranked #2 among all cable networks for the 16th straight month. Dayside total viewership increased +40% more than FOX News (+15%) and CNN (+18%).

MSNBC prime (M-F 8pm-11pm) posted a record-breaking month. In A25-54, prime averaged 474,000 viewers, the highest since September 2018, and achieved the largest lead over CNN +189,000. In total viewers, prime averaged 2.7M, the highest ever in network history, delivering the widest lead over CNN ever with more than 1.5M total viewers. Prime grew more than any cable news channel in November, increasing A25-54 viewership by +8% while FOX News (-12%) and CNN (-38%) were both down compared to November 2018. In total viewers, prime also had its highest delivery since September 2018 and ranked #2 among cable news channels in the time period for the 36th straight month.

“Morning Joe” at 6am more than doubled CNN in total viewers drawing 1.25M total viewers (vs. CNN’s 568,000). November marked the 57th month in a row that “Morning Joe” topped CNN in total viewers. In A25-54, “Morning Joe” beat CNN for the 25th straight month in a row averaging 209,000 viewers (vs. CNN’s138,000).

“The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” at 11pm is ranked #1 in A25-54 for the 2nd consecutive month and #1 in total viewers for the 4th consecutive month beating CNN for the 40th straight month. In A25-54, “The 11th Hour” was the only program to grow increasing viewership by +9% while FOX News (-21%) and CNN (-38%) were both down compared to November 2018. In total viewers, “The 11th Hour” was up +6% while FOX News (-1%) and CNN (-17%) were both down compared to November 2018.

“Deadline: White House” at 4pm ranked #1 in total viewers for the 3rd straight month among total viewers averaging a record-breaking 2M total viewers, nearly doubling CNN’s 1.1M and topping FOX News’ 1.8M. “Deadline” was up +28% in total viewers compared to November 2018 (vs. FOX News +10% and CNN +2%). In A25-54, “Deadline” ranked #2 in the hour and saw its best delivery since January 2019 drawing 259,000 viewers (vs. CNN’s 255,000). The program’s A25-54 viewership increased +10% since November 2018 while FOX News (-5%) and CNN (-14%) were both down.

“All In with Chris Hayes” at 8pm drew 2M total viewers, the program’s best delivery since January 2019, besting CNN’s 1.2M for the 36th month in a row. In A25-54, “All In” was ranked #2 with 335,000 viewers besting CNN’s 307,000 for the 2nd month in a row.

“The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” at 10pm dominated CNN in total viewers for the 54th straight month with 2.3M total viewers (vs. CNN’s 1M). In A25-54, “The Last Word” beat CNN for the 12th straight month with 365,000 viewers (vs. CNN’s 261,000).

In November, every weekday MSNBC program from 5am-3am beat CNN in total viewers: “Morning Joe First Look” at 5am for the 25th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle” at 9am for the 34th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Hallie Jackson” at 10am for the 26th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Craig Melvin” at 11am for the 26th straight month; “Andrea Mitchell Reports” at 12pm for the 29th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Velshi & Ruhle” at 1pm for the 25th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Katy Tur” at 2pm for the 13th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Ali Velshi” at 3pm for the 25th straight month; “MTP Daily” at 5pm for the 31st straight month; “The Beat with Ari Melber” at 6pm for the 29th straight month and “Hardball with Chris Matthews” at 7pm for the 40th straight month.

MSNBC’s coverage of the historic impeachment hearings into President Donald Trump led MSNBC to its best week ever in network history for total day during the week of November 18th. MSNBC total day averaged 1.4M in total viewers (MSNBC’s previous record was 1.3M during the week of November 11th).

NOTE: November 2019 ratings are based on Nielsen most current data day for October 28, 2019 – November 24, 2019. Individual show data for the month represents regular programming only, excluding specials and breaking news.

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