MSNBC Ranks as No. 1 Cable Network in Total Viewers for First Time Ever

MSNBC ranked as the No. 1 network across all of cable in total viewers for the first time in its history, according to Nielsen data.

For Wednesday, Aug. 16, MSNBC averaged 1.52 million viewers for the total day across all of cable, edging out second place Fox News, who averaged 1.5 million. CNN ranked fourth among all cable networks for the day with 1.13 million total viewers. Nickelodeon was third with 1.17 million. However, in the key adults 25-54 demographic, CNN was number one among the cable news networks for the total day, averaging 381,000 viewers in that measure. Fox News was second in the demo for total day with 353,000 viewers, and MSNBC was third with 343,000.

In primetime, MSNBC was also first in total viewers among the cable news networks with 2.61 million viewers. Fox News was second with 2.4 million. CNN was third with 1.59 million. In the key demo for primetime, MSNBC was first with 613,000. Fox News narrowly outpaced CNN for second place with 560,000, with CNN averaging 557,000.

Across all of broadcast in primetime, Wednesday’s episodes of “The Rachel Maddow Show” and “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” were among the top 10 shows of the night in total viewers, with Maddow averaging 3.25 million viewers at 9 p.m. and O’Donnell averaging 2.54 million at 10. They were both the highest-rated and most-watched cable news programs in their respective time slots, with Maddow also nabbing 778,00 viewers in the key demo and O’Donnell nabbing 597,000.

Airing against Maddow, Fox’s “The Five” averaged 2.31 million viewers and 577,000 viewers in the demo. CNN’s Anderson Cooper averaged 1.52 million viewers with 550,000 in the demo. At 10 against O’Donnell, Fox’s Sean Hannity pulled in 2.46 million viewers and 594,00 in the demo. CNN’s Don Lemon drew 1.58 million viewers and 542,000 in the demo.

At 8 p.m., CNN’s Anderson Cooper was first in the demo with 580,000 viewers but third in total viewers with 1.67 million. Fox’s Tucker Carlson was second in the demo with 508,000 but first in total viewers with 2.43 million. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes was third in the demo with 463,000 but second in total viewers with 2.01 million.

Cable news has been in overdrive for the past few days after violence broke out at a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend at which a number of white supremacist groups protested the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. One protester was killed after a car driven by an alleged white supremacist plowed into a group that was blocking a roadway. Earlier this week, President Trump held a press conference at Trump Tower in New York in which he again asserted that “both sides” were to blame for the violence. 

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