Left-wing cable news outlet MSNBC enjoyed historic ratings gains in May, and after a brief stumble the first week of June, appears to have found its place back on top of the cable-news mountain in the key 25-54 demographic during primetime on weekdays.
According to ratings provided by TV Newser, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow destroyed her competition on Wednesday and Thursday, earning 745,000 viewers in the 25-54 demographic and 979,000 viewers, respectively. Her biggest competition at the 9 p.m. hour came from “The Five” on Fox News, which finished with a two-night average of 592,000 in the key demographic.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper finished slightly behind “The Five” on Thursday at 9 p.m., earning 591,000 key demo viewers, but Cooper beat all his competition, including Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson, at 8 p.m. (Cooper’s show often runs for two hours).
Sean Hannity enjoyed stellar ratings at the 10 p.m. hour on Thursday, bringing in 747,000 viewers in the key demo, but that wasn’t enough to beat out MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, who earned 754,000 viewers. Hannity did beat out his competition at the 11 p.m. hour, however, with 600,000 viewers. Hannity’s victory at 11 p.m. was the only hour of the evening Fox News beat out all its competition, who were bolstered by the high-profile testimony given by former FBI Director James Comey earlier that day.
Fox News also struggled with the key 25-54 demo during the day. CNN beat Fox News handedly, 594,000 to 489,000.
Despite these struggles, Fox News remained the No. 1 network in total viewers Wednesday and Thursday, in both primetime and daytime ratings. Because of the high interest from the anti-Trump left in the Comey hearings, it’s likely Fox News will rebound next week.
It’s also important to note Fox News’ ratings have improved compared to this time in 2016. As DePauw University professor Jeff McCall noted for the Indianapolis Star, Fox News’ “prime time audience in May was 11 percent higher than for May 2016.”