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According to live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen, Sean Hannity returned to the No. 1 spot in cable news for the month of February, beating his lead in and fellow Fox Newser Tucker Carlson, as well as 9 p.m. competitor and previous champ Rachel Maddow.
Hannity was not only the most-watched cable news show for February 2019, but it was also the go-to cable news show among adults 25-54.
Tucker Carlson Tonight finished No. 2 in total viewers, per Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, while TRMS finished No. 3 in total viewers. This is excluding specials.
Maddow and Carlson tied for second place among adults 25-54, per Nielsen.
There’s the trio of Hannity, Carlson and Maddow, and then there’s everyone else.
FNC programs accounted for eight of the top 15 cable news programs in total viewers and claimed six of the top ten cable news programs in the 25-54 demo.
MSNBC and CNN had two entries apiece in the A25-54 top 10.
It was a topsy turvy month for cable news relative to the prior February. Yes, Fox News dominated the top of the charts, as is traditionally the case, but it saw nearly all of its top shows fall vs. February 2018 ratings. The exception was The Five, which posted +7 percent growth in total viewers.
MSNBC’s top shows, on the other hand, posted year-over-year total audience growth; but as you’ll see below, they all lost steam among younger news viewers.
Perhaps the most impressive performance came from Brian Williams‘ show, The 11th Hour. The show was +22 percent in total viewers vs. the prior February.
Below are the top 10 cable news shows for Feb. 2018, including number of telecasts and year-over-year audience change. This is according to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data
- Hannity / 3,165,000/ 17 telecasts / -5 percent
- Tucker Carlson Tonight / 3,087,000 / 18 telecasts / -2 percent
- The Rachel Maddow Show / 3,067,000 / 19 telecasts / +7 percent
- The Five / 2,641,000 / 20 telecasts / +7 percent
- The Ingraham Angle / 2,489,000 / 19 telecasts / -4 percent
- Special Report with Bret Baier / 2,365,000 / 20 telecasts / -7 percent
- The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell / 2,362,000 / 19 telecasts / +12 percent
- The Story with Martha MacCallum / 2,019,000 / 20 telecasts / -14 percent
- All In with Chris Hayes / 1,979,000 / 19 telecasts / +4 percent
- The 11th Hour with Brian Williams / 1,812,000 / 20 telecasts / +22 percent
Moving to adults 25-54. Yes, hundreds of thousands continue to watch cable news each weeknight, but not one cable news program in the top 10 in this category that existed last year posted audience growth vs. February 2018. Anderson Cooper 360 was only -7 percent in the demo vs. the prior February, but each of the other shows were down double digits year-over-year. Cuomo Prime Time, which ranked No. 8 in the prime time demo this month, didn’t exist last February.
- Hannity / 575,000 / 17 telecasts / -19 percent
- Tucker Carlson Tonight / 549,000 / 18 telecasts / -16 percent
- TRMS / 549,000 / 19 telecasts / -14 percent
- The Ingraham Angle / 459,000 / 19 telecasts / 15 percent
- The Five / 415,000 / 20 telecasts / -11 percent
- The Last Word / 397,000 / 19 telecasts / -13 percent
- Special Report / 386,000 / 20 telecasts / -13 percent
- Cuomo Prime Time / 365,000 / 17 telecasts / N/A
- Anderson Cooper 360 / 359,000 / 20 telecasts / -7 percent
- The Story / 359,000 / 20 telecasts / -24 percent