September 2011 Ratings: MSNBC Tops CNN for Two Years in Primetime

By Chris Ariens 

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MSNBC holds on to the #2 spot in cable news primetime, topping CNN for the 8th consecutive quarter. MSNBC topped CNN at 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10pmET in Q3.

For the month of September, though, the primetime race gets closer. With debate nights taken out (Sept. 7 for MSNBC and Sept. 12 for CNN), CNN tops MSNBC in A25-54 viewers: 219,000 to 207,000 during the 8-11pm hours, according to numbers reported by the New York Times.

The ratings for September, 2011:

  • Primetime (Mon-Sun): 812K Total Viewers / 258K A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 412K Total Viewers / 143K A25-54

“Morning Joe” remains #2 in the mornings and is up +13% in Total Viewers and up +28% in A25-54 viewers year-over-year. “Hardball” and “The Rachel Maddow Show” are also up double digits but the network’s 8pmET show “Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” is down double digits: -22% in total viewers and -35% in younger viewers vs. “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” which aired in the timeslot last September.

MSNBC’s release after the jump…

MSNBC Continues to Top CNN for 3Q 2011

MSNBC Beats CNN at 5p, 6p, 7p, 8p, 9p, and 10p for 3Q 2011

‘Morning Joe’ Tops CNN’s “American Morning” for the 7th Consecutive Quarter
“Morning Joe,” “Hardball,” and “Maddow” Up Double Digits Compared to 3Q 2010

NEW YORK – September 27, 2011 – MSNBC continued to top CNN in primetime for 3rd quarter of 2011, finishing ahead of the formerly dominant news network for the 8th consecutive quarter. MSNBC continues to top CNN in the mornings as well, with “Morning Joe” beating “American Morning” for the seventh consecutive quarter. MSNBC topped CNN at 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 p.m. in 3Q 2011 and “Morning Joe,” “Hardball” at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. and “The Rachel Maddow Show” are all up double digits compared to 3rd quarter of 2010. Following are ratings highlights for 3Q 2011:

• MSNBC beat CNN in primetime for 3Q 2011 (756,000 vs. 676,000) in total viewers and in A25-54 (244,000 vs. 221,000). This marks the 8th consecutive quarterly victory.

• In 3Q 2011, “Morning Joe” surpassed third place CNN’s “American Morning” among total viewers (442,000 vs. 268,000) and HLN’s Robin Meade (442,000 vs. 341,000). This marks the 7th consecutive quarter “Morning Joe” has topped “American Morning” and the 15th consecutive quarter the program has beaten HLN. “Morning Joe” also continued to top CNN in A25-54 in 3Q 2011 (152,000 vs. 110,000). Compared to 3Q 2010, “Morning Joe” is up 36% among total viewers and 19% among A25-54 in 3Q 2011.

• At 5 p.m., “Hardball with Chris Matthews” topped CNN’s “Situation Room” for the quarter in both total viewers (689,000 vs. 667,000) and A25-54 (163,000 vs. 160,000). Compared to 3Q 2010, “Hardball” at 5 p.m. is up 32% among total viewers and 19% among A25-54 in 3Q 2011.

• At 6 p.m., where the network now airs “PoliticsNation” with Al Sharpton, MSNBC topped CNN in total viewers for 3Q 2011 (598,000 vs. 591,000).

• The 7 p.m. airing of “Hardball with Chris Matthews” finished 3Q 2011 well ahead of CNN, by 39% in total viewers (710,000 vs. 509,000) and A25-54 (181,000 vs. 160,000). This is the 8th consecutive quarter MSNBC has topped CNN at 7 p.m. Compared to 3Q10, “Hardball” is up 22% in total viewers and 6% among A25-54.

• At 8 p.m., “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell,” MSNBC continued to top CNN in 3Q11 in total viewers (840,000 vs. 612,000) and among A25-54 (200,000 vs. 187,000). This marks the 14th consecutive quarter ranking #2 at 8 p.m. in total viewers and the 20th consecutive quarter topping CNN among A25-54.

• “The Rachel Maddow Show” finished 3Q 2011 well ahead of CNN at 9 p.m., topping “Piers Morgan Tonight” by 34% in total viewers (927,000 vs. 694,000) and 30% among adults 25-54 (274,000 vs. 211,000). Compared to 3Q 2010, TRMS is up 11% among total viewers and 3% among A25-54 in 3Q 2011.

• At 10 p.m. “The Ed Show” with Ed Schultz beat CNN’s “AC 360” in 3Q 2011 (804,000 vs. 750,000) for the 5th consecutive quarter. Compared to 3Q10, “The Ed Show” has grown MSNBC’s 10 p.m. audience 38% in total viewers and 22% among A25-54 in 3Q11.

• MSNBC is #1 in delivering African American viewers (2+) for the 7th
consecutive quarter in M-Su Primetime.

• MSNBC Longform ranks #1 in Weekend Primetime (Saturday – Sunday 7 p.m. – 2 a.m.) among adults 25-54 for the 6th consecutive quarter and beat CNN for the 12th straight quarter.