Much has been made about the cable news rivalry between Fox News and CNN. One current reason for this perception, of course, is that President Trump heavily favors the former (and often parrots those stories) while declaring the latter to be “fake news.” Yet the rivalry goes back many years, all while a true contender has been vying for best slot in the background. And the day has finally arrived when MSNBC can claim to have beaten both Fox News and CNN in prime time ratings for a whole week on weekday evenings. (Fox News won the overall week.)
This is actually part of a larger trend for MSNBC, which has seen the Morning Joe crew beat CNN’s New Day for 30 consecutive weeks. Now, Fox News and CNN are being smashed by MSNBC at night as well. Here are the numbers:
For the first time in the network’s 21-year history, MSNBC finished the week as the most-watched cable network during weekday prime (M-F 8-11pm) in total viewers. According to Nielsen, MSNBC ended the week of July 17-21 as the #1 cable network for all weekday prime, averaging 2.34 million viewers, ahead of FOX News at 2.25 million.
Much of the credit for the prime time switcheroo goes to The Rachel Maddow Show that has been trouncing CNN and Fox News from 9-10pm for four straight weeks. The Wrap also reckons that the entire MSNBC prime time lineup, which includes Chris Hayes and Lawrence O’Donnell, has chosen the right format — a straightforward plan of “hold[ing] Trump accountable on a nightly basis” with “powerful left-leaning political monologues.” Whereas CNN generally fills its prime time hours with interview and guest-heavy programs from Don Lemon and Anderson Cooper.
With the president’s approval rating sinking to record lows, MSNBC holds the current ingredients for ratings success. Trump won’t be happy about this, and we may hear about it in his next Twitter rant. Something to look forward to!