Q3 2019 Ratings: MSNBC Remains the Second-Most-Watched Network on All of Basic Cable

By A.J. Katz Comment

Once again, MSNBC finished a quarter as one of the most-watched networks on cable television; No. 2 to be exact, only behind Fox News in both total day and prime time dayparts.

MSNBC defeated rival CNN for the 10th consecutive quarter in total day viewers, and in total prime time viewers for the 11th consecutive quarter.

However, compared to Q3 2018, MSNBC struggled. The network, despite its dominance when it comes to average total audience, was -18% in prime time, and -16% in total day from last year. Its A25-54 audience is declining year-over-year as well, something that’s also true for FNC and CNN. Not only did MSNBC come up short to CNN in the demo (which earned a significant boost from its two-night Democratic primary debate in Q3), but it also saw the most noticeable decline in the A25-54 measurement: -34% in prime time and -34% in total day. To be fair, the network’s numbers over the past two summers have been historic, and one had to assume they were going to come back down to Earth a bit. However, NBC surely hopes to see its cable news network post some gains in 2020, despite these impressive total audience figures relative to the rest of the cable industry.

The ratings for Q3, 2019 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):

  • Prime time (Mon-Sun): 1,532,000 total viewers / 228,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 880,000 total viewers /128,000 A25-54

On the programming front – The 11th Hour with Brian Williams remains a standout. It was the most-watched cable news show in the 11 p.m. hour for the 5th consecutive quarter, but finished No. 2 in the demo behind Fox News @ Night with Shannon Bream.

The 11th Hour celebrated its third anniversary on MSNBC in September.

Morning Joe beat CNN New Day in total viewers for the 18th consecutive quarter and among adults 25-54 for the 9th consecutive quarter.

The Rachel Maddow Show topped her 9 p.m. CNN competition in the demo for the 11th consecutive quarter, and averaged a larger total audience than CNN for the 40th consecutive quarter. On the downside, MSNBC’s most popular show fell to fourth place behind a trio of Fox News programming this past quarter.

TRMS celebrated 11 years on MSNBC in September.

Additionally, every hour of MSNBC’s weekday programming from 5 a.m. – 3 a.m. beat CNN in total viewers,

Here’s MSNBC’s press release:

MSNBC IS AGAIN THE #2 MOST-WATCHED CABLE NETWORK IN TOTAL VIEWERS FOR 3Q19, CONTINUES TO REIGN OVER CNN

MSNBC Continues to Dominate CNN During Total Day (M-Su 6am-6am), Dayside (M-F 9am-5pm), and Prime (M-F 8pm-11pm)

“The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” is #1 in Total Viewers, Doubling CNN

“Morning Joe” Tops CNN in Total Viewers for 18th Straight Quarter and A25-54 for 9th Straight Quarter

“All In with Chris Hayes,” “The Rachel Maddow Show,” “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” and “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” All Beat CNN in the A25-54 Demo

Every MSNBC Program Beats CNN in Total Viewers Weekdays from 5am through Midnight

On Saturdays, “AM Joy” Beat CNN in Total Viewers for the 8th Straight Quarter and Tops CNN in A25-54

NEW YORK (October 1, 2019) – MSNBC is again the #2 most-watched cable network among all total viewers during total day (M-Su 6am-6am), dayside (M-F 9am-5pm), and prime (M-F 8pm-11pm), topping CNN, according to Nielsen ratings data for the 3rd quarter of 2019. For the 10th consecutive quarter, MSNBC total day beat CNN with 880,000 total viewers (vs. CNN’s 624,000). In total viewers MSNBC dayside was #2 during the time period for the 9th quarter with 943,000 viewers tuning in (vs. CNN’s 679,000). MSNBC prime was #2 across all cable networks for the 3rd straight quarter and the #2 cable news channel for 14 straight quarters with 1.9M total viewers (vs. CNN’s 1.21M). It was also the 11th quarter in a row that M-Su prime (8pm-11pm) topped CNN with 1.53M total viewers (vs. CNN’s 1.04M).

“The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” reigned as the #1 cable news program at 11pm for the 5th straight quarter and besting CNN for the last 12 quarters in total viewers. “The 11th Hour,” which celebrated its 3rd anniversary in September, pulled in 1.43M total viewers, ahead of FOX News’ 1.4M and more than doubled CNN’s 674,000. In A25-54, “The 11th Hour” ranked #2 for the hour with 213,000 A25-54 viewers (vs. CNN’s 188,000) this quarter.

“Morning Joe” at 6am beat CNN in both total viewers and A25-54. “Morning Joe” averaged 1.02M total viewers, more than doubling CNN’s 461,000 and beating CNN for the 18th quarter in a row. In A25-54, “Morning Joe” averaged 160,000 viewers (vs. CNN’s 109,000), beating CNN for the 9th quarter in a row.

“All In with Chris Hayes” continued to top CNN in total viewers for the 11th consecutive quarter and in A25-54 for the 2nd consecutive quarter. “All In” was ranked #2 in the hour among all cable news channels drawing an average of 1.53M total viewers per night (vs. CNN’s 960,000) and 235,000 in A25-54 (vs. CNN’s 232,000).

“The Rachel Maddow Show” at 9pm ranked #2 in the hour and topped CNN in A25-54 for the 11th quarter in a row and in total viewers for the last 40 quarters. “Maddow” celebrated 11 years on the air in September and averaged 2.52M total viewers more than doubling CNN’s 1.03M and 393,000 viewers in A25-54 (vs. CNN’s 252,000) for the quarter.

“The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” at 10pm marked its 9th anniversary in September and bested CNN in total viewers for the 17th straight quarter and A25-54 for the 10th straight quarter. “The Last Word” averaged 1.94M total viewers (vs. CNN’s 928,000) and 277,000 in A25-54 (vs. CNN’s 248,000).

Every hour of MSNBC’s weekday programming from 5am-3am beat CNN in total viewers, including: “Morning Joe First Look” at 5am for the 8th straight quarter; “Morning Joe” from 6-9am for the 18th straight quarter; “MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle” at 9am for the 11th straight quarter; “MSNBC Live with Hallie Jackson” at 10am for the 9th straight quarter; “MSNBC Live with Craig Melvin” at 11am for the 9th straight quarter; “Andrea Mitchell Reports” at 12pm for the 9th straight quarter; “MSNBC Live with Velshi & Ruhle” at 1pm for the 9th straight quarter; “MSNBC Live with Katy Tur” at 2pm for the 8th straight quarter; “MSNBC Live with Ali Velshi” at 3pm for the 8th straight quarter; “Deadline: White House” at 4pm for the 9th straight quarter; “MTP Daily” at 5pm for the 10th straight quarter; “The Beat with Ari Melber” at 6pm for the 9th straight quarter; “Hardball with Chris Matthews” at 7pm for the 25th straight quarter; “All In with Chris Hayes” at 8pm for the 11th straight quarter; “The Rachel Maddow Show” at 9pm for the 40th straight quarter; “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” at 10pm for the 17th straight quarter; and “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” at 11pm for the 12th straight quarter.

On Saturdays, “AM Joy” at 10am bested CNN in total viewers for the 8th straight quarter and was #2 in A25-54. “AM Joy” on Sundays at 10am bested CNN in total viewers for the 7th quarter in a row.  “Kasie DC” beat CNN in total viewers on Sundays at 7pm for the 7th straight quarter and “Weekends with Alex Witt” on Saturdays at 12pm beat CNN in total viewers for the 3rd straight quarter.

Additionally, MSNBC aired the Global Citizen Festival on Sept. 28, marking the sixth consecutive year that MSNBC and Comcast NBCUniversal teamed up with Global Citizen as the premier media partner. The live simulcast of the festival on MSNBC, MSNBC.com and NBC News Now was the highest rated in MSNBC history among total viewers. Total viewers this year increased by +29% compared to 2018 and was the 3rd straight year in which MSNBC increased ratings for the festival.

NOTE: 3Q19 ratings are based on Nielsen Live+Same data day for July 1, 2019 – Sep. 29, 2019. Individual show data for the quarter represents regular programming only, excluding specials and breaking news.

 

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