Q1 2019 Ratings: Rachel Maddow Lifts MSNBC to Its Most-Watched Quarter Ever

By A.J. Katz Comment

MSNBC was, once again, one of the most popular networks on cable television this quarter. It was No. 2 to be exact, only behind Fox News.

The network’s programming continues to deliver huge total audiences, and is by Rachel Maddow, who finished Q1 2019 as the No. 1 host on cable news among adults 25-54, the demographic which means the most to news advertisers.

A more extensive program ranker will be posted tomorrow.

NBCU’s politics-focused cable network was not only a top 5 network in total viewers, but it was also up in total viewers vs. Q1 2018, which was the network’s most-watched quarter ever…which means MSNBC just had its most-watched quarter ever.

While the network as strong as its ever been when it comes to drawing total audiences, it is struggling when it comes to delivering adults 25-54 relative to recent years in the Trump presidency. MSNBC was +3 percent in total prime time viewers, +8 percent in total day viewers, but it was also a whopping -23 percent in the prime time demo and -17 percent in the total day demo vs. Q1 of 2018.

MSNBC beat CNN in basically every relevant hour among total viewers, as well as in the prime time demo. However, the network finished runner up to CNN in the total day demo.

Yes, they’re still watching Maddow, 25-54-year-olds return to MSNBC en masse when we approach the next election? That remains to be seen.

Here are MSNBC’s ratings for Q1 of 2019:

  • Prime time (Mon-Sun): 1,919, 000 total viewers / 312,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun):  1,087,000 total viewers / 183,000 A25-54

Maddow wasn’t the only MSNBC host to have a huge quarter. Morning Joe had its most successful quarter ever in total viewers. It beat New Day in total viewers for the 16th straight quarter and among adults 25-54 for the 7th consecutive quarter. The show was also +10 percent in total viewers while Fox & Friends and CNN New Day were down year-over-year.

The 11th Hour with Brian Williams was No. 1 on cable news across the board in the 11 p.m. timeslot, and posted record viewership for the network during the hour.

Here’s the MSNBC ratings press release for Q1 2019:

MSNBC’S “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” IS THE #1 CABLE NEWS PROGRAM IN A25-54 FOR THE QUARTER, DELIVERS THE SHOW’S HIGHEST-RATED QUARTER EVER IN TOTAL AUDIENCE

MSNBC Again Surpasses CNN as the #2 Most-Watched Network Across All Cable in Record-Breaking Quarter in Total Viewers During Dayside (M-F 9am-5pm), Prime (M-F 8-11pm) and Total Day (M-Su 6am-6am)

“Morning Joe” Sets Ratings Records in Total Viewers, Continues to Dominate CNN in Total Viewers for 16th Straight Quarter and A25-54 for 7th Straight Quarter

“The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” is #1 in A25-54 and in Total Viewers at 11pm, Posts Record Total Viewership

“Deadline: White House” at 4pm is #1 in Total Viewers with Network’s Best Total-Viewer Delivery in the Hour Ever

MSNBC Also Achieves Total-Viewer Ratings Highs Weekdays During “MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle,” “MSNBC Live with Hallie Jackson,” “MSNBC Live with Craig Melvin,” “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” “MSNBC Live with Velshi & Ruhle,” “MSNBC Live with Katy Tur,” “MSNBC Live with Ali Velshi,” “MTP Daily,” “The Beat with Ari Melber,” “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” “All In with Chris Hayes,” and “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell”; Saturdays During “UP with David Gura” and “Weekends with Alex Witt”

Every MSNBC Program Tops CNN in Total Viewers Weekdays from 5am to Midnight, Saturdays from 10am to 12pm, and Sundays from 10am to 2pm and 7pm to 9pm

NEW YORK (April 1, 2019) – MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” was the #1 cable news program in A25-54 for the 1st quarter of 2019, beating all other FOX News and CNN shows, according to Nielsen data from December 31, 2018 through March 28, 2019. “Maddow” averaged 552,000 in A25-54 viewers (vs. FOX News’ 542,000 for Hannity and 528,000 for Hannity with Specials at 9pm, FOX News’ 534,000 at 8pm and CNN’s 367,000 at 9pm). Additionally, this quarter was “Maddow’s” highest-rated quarter ever in total viewers, averaging 3.07M total viewers at 9pm (vs. FOX News’ 3.06M for Hannity with Specials and CNN’s 1.3M).

In a record-breaking quarter among total viewers, MSNBC again surpassed CNN as the #2 most-watched network across all of cable during dayside (M-F 9am-5pm) and total day (M-Su 6am-6am). In dayside, MSNBC beat CNN for the 7th straight quarter in total viewers, averaging 1.2M total viewers (vs. CNN’s 830,000) – up +17% over 1Q18 (vs. FOX News’ -2% and CNN’s +1%). In total day, MSNBC beat CNN for the 8th straight quarter in total viewers, averaging 1.1M total viewers (vs. CNN’s 724,000) – up +9% over 1Q18 (vs. FOX News’ -2% and CNN’s +2%). Weekend total day (Sa-Su 6am-6am) also beat CNN, scored its best quarter ever, and posted the only cable news growth over 1Q18 in total viewers (up +3% vs. FOX News’ -3% and CNN’s -5%).

In weekday prime, MSNBC beat CNN in A25-54 for the 8th straight quarter, averaging 424,000 viewers A25-54 (vs. CNN’s 366,000). MSNBC was the #10 most-watched cable network across A25-54, ahead of #15 CNN. In total viewers, MSNBC beat CNN for the 12th straight quarter, averaging 2.43M total viewers (vs. CNN’s 1.2M). Across all of cable, MSNBC was the #2 most-watched network, ahead of #6 CNN. In addition, MSNBC M-Su 8-11pm topped CNN for the quarter (for the 7th time out of the last 8 quarters) in A25-54 and also delivered its highest-rated quarter ever in total viewers, besting CNN for the 9th straight quarter as the #2 most-watched network across all of cable.

“Morning Joe” at 6am set ratings records in total viewers, nearly doubling CNN with over 1M total viewers. Compared to 1Q18, “Morning Joe” was up +10% in total viewers while FOX News (-5%) and CNN (-8%) declined. “Morning Joe” beat CNN in A25-54 for the 7th straight quarter and in total viewers for the 16th straight quarter.

“The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” was the #1 cable news program at 11pm in both A25-54 and total viewers and achieved the network’s best total-viewer delivery ever for the time period. “The 11th Hour” beat both FOX News and CNN in A25-54 for the quarter, averaging 311,000 viewers A25-54 (vs. FOX News’ 292,000 and CNN’s 271,000). In total viewers, “The 11th Hour” was #1 for the 3rd quarter in a row with 1.76M viewers, doubling CNN (vs. FOX News’ 1.4M and CNN’s 835,000) and posting more growth than the competition over 1Q18 (+10% vs. FOX News’ -7% and CNN’s +3%).

“Deadline: White House” at 4pm was the #1 cable news program in total viewers for the quarter (winning 2 of the last 3 quarters), delivering MSNBC’s highest-rated hour ever for the time period. “Deadline” averaged 1.7M total viewers (vs. FOX News’ 1.5M and CNN’s 977,000) – and was up significantly more than the competition compared to 1Q18 (+32% vs. FOX News 0% and CNN’s +3%).

Every hour of MSNBC’s weekday programming from 5am-3am beat CNN in total viewers, including: “Morning Joe First Look” at 5am for the 6th straight quarter; “Morning Joe” from 6-9am for the 16th straight quarter; “MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle” at 9am for the 9th straight quarter; “MSNBC Live with Hallie Jackson” at 10am for the 7th straight quarter; “MSNBC Live with Craig Melvin” at 11am for the 7th straight quarter; “Andrea Mitchell Reports” at 12pm for the 7th straight quarter; “MSNBC Live with Velshi & Ruhle” at 1pm for the 7th straight quarter; “MSNBC Live with Katy Tur” at 2pm for the 6th straight quarter; “MSNBC Live with Ali Velshi” at 3pm for the 6th straight quarter; “Deadline: White House” at 4pm for the 7th straight quarter; “MTP Daily” at 5pm for the 8th straight quarter; “The Beat with Ari Melber” at 6pm for the 7th straight quarter; “Hardball with Chris Matthews” at 7pm for the 23rd straight quarter; “All In with Chris Hayes” at 8pm for the 9th straight quarter; “The Rachel Maddow Show” at 9pm for the 38thstraight quarter; “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” at 10pm for the 15th straight quarter and also in A25-54 for the 8th straight quarter; and “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” at 11pm for the 10thstraight quarter. On weekends, “AM Joy” bested CNN in total viewers on Saturdays at 10am for the 6th straight quarter and Sundays at 10am for the 5th straight quarter. “Kasie DC” topped CNN in total viewers on Sundays at 7pm for the 5th straight quarter. “Weekends with Alex Witt” topped CNN in total viewers on Sundays at 12pm.

Multiple MSNBC programs also achieved total-viewer ratings highs, including weekdays during “MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle,” “MSNBC Live with Hallie Jackson,” “MSNBC Live with Craig Melvin,” “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” “MSNBC Live with Velshi & Ruhle,” “MSNBC Live with Katy Tur,” “MSNBC Live with Ali Velshi,” “MTP Daily,” “The Beat with Ari Melber,” “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” “All In with Chris Hayes,” and “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell”; and Saturdays during “UP with David Gura” and “Weekends with Alex Witt.”

NOTE: 1Q19 ratings are based on Nielsen Live+Same data day for December 31, 2018 – March 28, 2019. Individual show data represents regular programming only, excluding specials and breaking news.

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