October 2019 Ratings: Multiple MSNBC Shows Had Their Most-Watched Month Ever

By A.J. Katz Comment

The impeachment inquiry against Pres. Trump is heating up, and that’s good news for MSNBC, from a ratings perspective.

MSNBC grew more than Fox News and CNN in total day, dayside (M-F 9 a.m.-5 p.m.), in A25-54 and total viewers. Total day was No. 2 across all of cable and delivered the highest total viewership since Sept. 2018, and the highest A25-54 viewership since Feb. 2019.

Compared to its Oct. 2018 figures, MSNBC was +25% in total prime time viewers, +25% in total day viewers, +16% in the prime time demo and +12% in the total day demo this past month.

On the downside MSNBC was edged by CNN in the prime time demo for October (328,000 vs. 327,000), but that’s only because of CNN’s Democratic debate. The NBCU politics-focused network fell short to CNN in the total day demo (180,000 vs. 190,000), despite posting year-over-year growth in the daypart.

The ratings for October, 2018 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):

  • Prime time (Mon-Sun): 1,961,000 total viewers / 327,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun):  1,140,000 total viewers /  180,000 A25-54

On the programming side –  The Rachel Maddow Show averaged its largest total audience since January, and posted more year-over-year growth than the 9 p.m. competitors. According to MSNBC, TRMS was the No. 1 cable news program for the month among adults 25-54.

But there’s an important caveat.

Fox News labeled two October Friday broadcasts of Hannity as “Hannity Special,” as it often does on Fridays when Hannity isn’t the host. MSNBC did not label any Friday broadcasts of TRMS as “Special.”

If you include the “Hannity Special” broadcasts on Fridays in October (Oct. 25 and Oct. 18), then Maddow wins the month of October among adults 25-54. If you exclude those “Hannity Special” broadcasts, (which TVNewser traditionally does), then Hannity is No. 1 among adults 25-54 for October 2019.

What can’t be spun by publicists on either side is that Hannity had the No. 1 cable news show among total viewers for the seventh consecutive month. Maddow finished behind Tucker Carlson in total viewers.

Morning Joe had its best month ever from a total viewers perspective, averaging 1.23 million. The MSNBC morning show posted year-over-year growth, while Fox & Friends (which finished No. 1) and New Day posted year-over-year losses.

The 11th Hour with Brian Williams finished No. 1 in the 11 p.m. hour in all relevant categories, and posted year-over-year growth while its competitors fell.

Additionally, All In with Chris Hayes beat AC360 across the board at 8 p.m. The program, which finished No. 2 in the hour, posted year-over-year growth, while its Fox and CNN competitors were down.

The Beat with Ari Melber delivered the network’s most-watched month ever in the 6 p.m. time period.

Here’s MSNBC’s press release:

 MSNBC’S “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” IS #1 IN A25-54 ACROSS CABLE NEWS, TOPPING ALL REGULARLY SCHEDULED SHOWS ON FOX NEWS AND CNN IN OCTOBER
“Morning Joe” at 6am Posts Record-Breaking Month in Total Viewers, Tops CNN in A25-54 for 24th Straight Month and in Total Viewers for 56th Straight Month
MSNBC Grows More Than FOX News and CNN in Total Day (M-Su 6am-6am), Dayside (M-F 9am-5pm), and Weekend Total Day (Sa-Su 6am-6am) in A25-54 and Total Viewers; MSNBC Prime (M-Su 8pm-11pm) Grows More Than the Competition in A25-54
MSNBC Total Day, Dayside, Prime and Weekend Prime See Highest Deliveries in A25-54 and Total Viewers
MSNBC Total Day and Dayside Rank #2 in Total Viewers Across All of Cable
“The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” at 11pm Ranks #1 in Total Viewers and A25-54
“Deadline: White House” at 4pm is Again #1 in Total Viewers in Record Month, Besting CNN for 25th Consecutive Month
“The Beat with Ari Melber” at 6pm Ranks #2 in the Hour in A25-54 and Total Viewers, Records MSNBC’s Highest Total Viewership in the Time Period
“All In with Chris Hayes” at 8pm Beats CNN in A25-54 and in Total Viewers for 35th Straight Month
“The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” at 10pm Tops CNN for 11th Month in a Row in A25-54 and for the Last 53 Months in Total Viewers
Every MSNBC Show on Weekdays from 5am to 3am Beats CNN in Total Viewers
NEW YORK (October 29, 2019) – MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” finished the month of October as the #1 cable news program in A25-54 for regularly scheduled programs (including all specials), beating FOX News and dominating CNN for the 33rd month in a row, according to Nielsen. “Maddow” averaged 538,000 A25-54 viewers (vs. FOX News’ 536,000 and CNN’s 306,000) and 3.1M total viewers (vs. CNN’s 1.2M) – the program’s best delivery in both demos since Jan. 2019. In A25-54, “Maddow” was up +13% while FOX News (-21%) and CNN (-12%) were down compared to Oct. 2018. In total viewers, “Maddow” was up +22%, more than FOX News (-2%) and CNN (+8%) over Oct. 2018. Host Rachel Maddow was recently announced as co-host of MSNBC and the Washington Post’s Democratic presidential primary debate alongside Andrea Mitchell, host of MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” and NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent; Kristen Welker, NBC News White House Correspondent; and Ashley Parker, Washington Post White House Reporter.
MSNBC grew more than FOX News and CNN in total day (M-Su 6am-6am), dayside (M-F 9am-5pm), and weekend total day (Sa-Su 6am-6am) in A25-54 and total viewers. Total day (M-Su 6am-6am) was #2 across all of cable and delivered the highest total viewership since Sept. 2018 for the time period averaging 1.4M total viewers and the highest A25-54 viewership since Feb. 2019, averaging 180,000. Total day was up +12% in A25-54 while FOX News (-27%) and CNN (-5%) were down compared to Oct. 2018.
Dayside (M-F 9am-5pm) ranked #2 among all cable networks for the 15th straight month. This was also the 25th straight month that dayside was #2 across all of cable news. Dayside logged the highest viewership in A25-54 and total viewers since Jan. 2019. In A25-54, dayside was up +10% while FOX News (-33%) and CNN (-8%) were down compared to Oct. 2018.
Weekend total day (Sa-Su 6am-6am) delivered the best month in A25-54 since Feb. 2019 and in total viewers since Jan. 2019. In A25-54, weekend total day was up +10% while FOX News (-32%) and CNN (-19%) were down compared to Oct. 2018. In total viewers, weekend total day was up +24% while FOX News (-21%) and CNN (-0%) were down compared to Oct. 2018.
Prime (M-Su 8pm-11pm) beat CNN in the time period for the 33rd straight month in total viewers and delivered its highest total viewership since Sept. 2018. In A25-54, prime delivered its highest viewership since Feb. 2019. In A25-54, prime was up +16% (vs. FOX News’ -25% and CNN’s +13%) over Oct. 2018. Prime averaged 2M total viewers (vs. CNN’s 1.2M).
“Morning Joe” at 6am averaged a record-breaking 1.23M total viewers, more than doubling CNN’s 579,000 and beating CNN for the 56th month in a row. In A25-54, “Morning Joe” beat CNN for the 24th month in a row averaging 209,000 viewers (vs. CNN’s 143,000) and was up +7% while FOX News (-18%) and CNN (-14%) were down compared to Oct. 2018.
“The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” at 11pm continues its reign at #1 topping FOX News and CNN in total viewers for the 3rd month in a row and in A25-54. “The 11th Hour” posted a win in total viewers averaging 1.83M (vs. FOX News’ 1.5M and CNN’s 850,000) and topping CNN for the 39th straight month. In A25-54, “The 11th Hour” was up +25% while FOX News (-31%) and CNN (-6%) were down compared to Oct. 2018.
For the 2nd month in a row, “Deadline: White House” at 4pm was #1 in total viewers with its highest delivery since Jan. 2019, averaging 1.83M viewers (vs. FOX News’ 1.5M and CNN’s 1.1M) and beating CNN for the 25th consecutive month. In A25-54, “Deadline” was up +13% while FOX News (-27%) and CNN (-12%) were down compared to Oct. 2018.
“The Beat with Ari Melber” at 6pm ranked #2 in the hour in A25-54 and total viewers. “The Beat” delivered MSNBC’s highest total viewership for the time period drawing in 1.8M viewers. In A25-54, “The Beat” was up +34% while FOX News (-12%) was down and CNN (+14%) grew less compared to Oct. 2018.
“All In with Chris Hayes” at 8pm bested CNN in A25-54 with an average 336,000 viewers (vs. CNN’s 309,000). “All In” was up +24% while FOX News (-19%) and CNN (-4%) were down in A25-54 compared to Oct. 2018. “All In” nearly doubled CNN in total viewers with 2M (vs. CNN’s 1.2M), beating CNN for the 35th month in a row.
“The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” at 11pm beat CNN for the last 53 months and more than doubled CNN in total viewership with an average 2.43M (vs. CNN’s 1.1M). “The Last Word” ranked #2 in the hour in A25-54 for the 9th month in a row and beat CNN for the last 11 months averaging 385,000 viewers (vs. CNN’s 290,000). In A25-54, “The Last Word” was up +20% while FOX News (-22%) and CNN (-10%) were down compared to Oct. 2018.
In October, every weekday MSNBC program from 5am-3am beat CNN in total viewers. “Morning Joe First Look” at 5am beat CNN for the 24th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle” at 9am beat CNN for the 33rd straight month; “MSNBC Live with Hallie Jackson” at 10am beat CNN for the 25th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Craig Melvin” at 11am beat CNN for the 25th straight month and delivered a record month; “Andrea Mitchell Reports” at 12pm beat for the 28th straight month and delivered a record month; “MSNBC Live with Velshi & Ruhle” at 1pm for the 24th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Katy Tur” at 2pm beat CNN for the 12th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Ali Velshi” at 3pm beat CNN for the 24th straight month; “MTP Daily” at 5pm beat CNN for the 30th straight month and “Hardball with Chris Matthews” at 7pm beat CNN for the 39th straight month and delivered a record month.
On Sundays, “AM Joy” at 10am beat CNN for the 11th straight month and “Kasie DC” at 7pm beat CNN for the 19th straight month among total viewers.
This month, MSNBC unveiled a brand-new podcast with NBC News National Political Correspondent Steve Kornacki entitled, “Article II: Inside Impeachment,” a podcast dedicated exclusively to covering the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.
NOTE: Oct. 2019 ratings are based on Nielsen Live+Same data day for 09/30/2019-10/27/2019. Individual show data represents regular programming only, excluding specials and breaking news unless noted.
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