November 2011 Ratings: MSNBC Edges Out CNN to Reclaim Second Place

By Merrill Knox 

MSNBC pulled back ahead of CNN this month, reclaiming the #2 spot among the cable news networks across the board: in primetime and in Total Day.

The ratings for November, 2011:

  • Primetime (Mon-Sun): 729K Total Viewers / 215K A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 427K Total Viewers / 139K A25-54

For the past two months, CNN had edged out MSNBC in A25-54 viewers in primetime, which resulted in MSNBC swapping Ed Schultz and Lawrence O’Donnell’s time slots in late October. The shake-up appears to have paid off for MSNBC: in November, “The Ed Show” topped CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” in total viewers (944,000 vs. 648,000) and the demographic (201,000 vs. 191,000). But despite the strong numbers, the 8pmET hour is down -19% in Total Viewers and down -36% in the A25-54 demo compared to November 2010, when “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” aired.

The switch has also benefited the 10pmET hour. O’Donnell’s “The Last Word” is outdrawing the re-air of “AC360” in both ratings measurements and has posted a +6% increase in Total Viewers year-over-year but is down -10% in younger viewers.

“Morning Joe” takes second-place in the cable news 6-9am time period for the eighth consecutive month. Year-over-year the show is flat in Total Viewers but up +9% in younger viewers.

MSNBC’s release after the jump…

The full release from MSNBC is below:


MSNBC Out-Rates CNN in All Key Dayparts – Including Total Day and Primetime – In November

NEW YORK – November 29, 2011 – MSNBC continues to top CNN in primetime and all key dayparts, including total day and primetime, according to data from Nielsen Media Research. In November, MSNBC also out-rated CNN in the morning and every hour from 5p through midnight in both total viewers and A25-54.

Following are MSNBC ratings highlights for November:

• In November, MSNBC beat CNN in total day (M-Su 6a-6a) among total viewers (427,000 vs. 409,000) and A25-54 (139,000 vs. 122,000). November marked CNN’s lowest total day A25-54 audience since December 2010.

• MSNBC weekday primetime out-rated CNN’s primetime in both total viewers (865,000 vs. 722,000) and A25-54 (227,000 vs. 210,000). For the month, CNN delivered its lowest M-F prime A25-54 audience since April 2011.

• “Morning Joe” continues as the No. 2 cable morning news program topping CNN’s “American Morning” by 72% among total viewers (436,000 vs. 253,000) and by 47% among A25-54 (152,000 vs. 103,000). This is the 8th consecutive month “Morning Joe” has topped CNN among total viewers and A25-54. November also marks “Morning Joe’s” best A25-54 delivery since July 2011 and CNN’s lowest A25-54 delivery since July 2011. In addition, “Way Too Early” (5:30a-6:00a) topped CNN by 58% among A25-54 (105,000 vs. 67,000) and 46% among total viewers (222,000 vs. 152,000).

• MSNBC daytime increased 27% among total viewers and 16% among A25-54 compared to Nov. 2010, the most cable news growth in the daypart.

• At 6 p.m., “PoliticsNation” hosted by Rev. Al Sharpton beat CNN’s “John King USA” by 50% among total viewers (767,000 vs. 512,000) and by 41% in the demo of A25-54 (171,000 vs. 121,000). This is MSNBC’s best A25-54 6p program delivery since Dec. 2010 and the lowest 6p delivery for CNN since August 2010.

• “Hardball with Chris Matthews” at 7 p.m beat CNN among total viewers (844,000 vs. 510,000) for the 8th straight month and in A25-54 (202,000 vs. 140,000) for the 6th consecutive month. This was “Hardball’s” best A25-54 delivery at 7p since May 2011 and CNN’s lowest A25-54 program delivery since June 2011.

• “The Ed Show” at 8 p.m. topped CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” among total viewers (944,000 vs. 648,000), making November the 45th consecutive month MSNBC has topped CNN in the hour. “Ed” also beat “Anderson” among A25-54 (201,000 vs. 191,000). This is MSNBC’s best A25-54 program delivery in the 8p hour since July 2011. The re-air of “The Ed Show” at 11p ranked No. 2 in the hour among both total viewers and A25-54.

• “The Rachel Maddow Show” surpassed CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight” for the month of November among all key demos, marking the 22nd consecutive monthly win over CNN in total viewers. Maddow beat CNN by 59% in total viewers (983,000 vs. 620,000) and 70% among A25-54 (262,000 vs. 154,000). This is Maddow’s best A25-54 delivery since August 2011 and the lowest demo performance for “Piers Morgan Tonight” since the show’s debut. The midnight encore airing of TRMS also ranked No. 2 among total viewers and A25-54.

• “The Last Word” at 10 p.m. ranked No.2, beating CNN among total viewers (868,000 vs. 675,000) and A25-54 (227,000 vs. 221,000). This is MSNBC’s best program delivery among A25-54 in the M-Th 10p hour since July 2011 and the lowest delivery for Anderson Cooper since Jan. 2011.

• “Up with Chris Hayes” on Sunday (8a-10a) ranked No. 2 for the month with A25-54 (154,000 vs. 152,000), topping CNN Sunday Morning/State of the Union. “Up” is up 25% among A25-54 and 45% in total viewers compared to MSNBC in Nov. 2010.

• MSNBC is No. 1 among African American viewers (P2+) for the 22nd consecutive month in primetime.

• MSNBC Longform ranks No. 1 in Weekend Sales Prime (Saturday and Sunday 7p-2a) among adults 25-54 for the third consecutive month. Among younger viewers A18-34, Longform ranks No. 1 for the 37th consecutive month.