Q2 2008 Ratings: Hardball at 5p Wins June

By SteveK 

MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews was the top rated cable news show in the A25-54 demo at 5pmET during the month of June. It was the first time the program won a month since February 2002. The program was also up 30% in the second quarter compared to last year. The 7pmET edition was up 65%.

> Update: The 5pmET average includes June 13 and 18, the day Tim Russert died and the day his memorial service was televised. Nielsen classified these days as Special Coverage, not Hardball. It also includes May 26 (Memorial Day) when MSNBC Investigates aired at 5pmET. With those three days taken out of the average, Hardball actually finishes third (171,000), behind CNN’s The Situation Room (186,000) and FNC’s America’s Election HQ/Just In (179,000).

Countdown with Keith Olbermann saw its best delivery ever in the A25-54 demo in the second quarter, up 65% from last year.


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MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” was the #1 cable news show at 5 p.m. this month, out-rating both CNN and Fox News among adults for the first time in more than six years. “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” also continued its dominance over CNN in June, out-rating “CNN Election Center” by a resounding 60% for the month and for the quarter. MSNBC continued to show more growth than the other news nets, finishing June up 76% in primetime and finishing the 2nd Quarter up 52%. Following are network highlights for June and 2nd Quarter, all data is live + same day time-period data:

· “Hardball with Chris Matthews” drew 190,000 Adults 25-54 in June, out-rating both CNN and Fox News Channel to rank #1 at 5 p.m for the first time since Feb. 2002. The 5 p.m. “Hardball” was up 48 percent in June 08 vs. June 07 (190,000 vs. 128,000), and up 30 percent versus 2Q07, while CNN was basically flat with a 4% increase, and FNC’s demo ratings plunged 11%. At 7 p.m., “Hardball” was up 93% vs. June 07 (233,000 vs. 121,000) and up 65% 2Q08 vs. 2Q07 (241,000 vs. 146,000). “Hardball” finished June within 11,000 viewers among A25-54 of CNN at 7 p.m.

· “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” continues its ratings supremacy over CNN at 8 p.m., drawing 398,000 A25-54 in 2Q, a huge 60% advantage over CNN, and its best delivery ever. “Countdown’s” amazing growth continued, up 90% vs. June 07 (417,000 vs. 220,000) and up 65% vs. 2Q07 (398,000 vs. 241,000).

· MSNBC finished June 2008 within 9,000 viewers of CNN among A25-54 in weekday primetime (327,000 vs. 336,000), tying the smallest gap between the nets since Sept. 2000 (MSNBC also finished within 9,000 A25-54 in March 08). MSNBC was up 76% vs. June 07 and up 52% vs. 2Q07 (300,000 vs. 198,000), better growth than any other news net.

· “Morning Joe” was the only morning show on the cable news nets to grow this quarter, up 18% in A25-54 vs. 2Q07 (106,000 vs. 90,000), while CNN dropped 4% and FNC fell a precipitous 17%.

· “Race for the White House with David Gregory” saw huge increases at 6 p.m., up 99% among A25-54 vs. June 07 (171,000 vs. 86,000) and up 86% vs. 2Q07 (171,000 vs. 92,000).

· “Verdict with Dan Abrams” scored big gains among A25-54 at 9 p.m., up 93% vs. June 07 (280,000 vs. 145,000) and up 48% vs. 2Q07 (252,000 vs. 170,000).

· The 10 p.m. repeat of “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” enjoyed more growth than either CNN or FNC, up 48% vs. June 07 among A25-54 (285,000 vs. 192,000) and up 37% vs. 2Q07 (250,000 vs. 182,000), while FNC saw its numbers dive 20% vs. June 07, and drop 17% vs. 2Q07.