×

Manchester Explosion Coverage Reshapes Cable News Ratings

MSNBC’s recent primetime ratings winning streak was halted Monday night as breaking coverage of the explosion around the United Kingdom’s Manchester Arena on Monday shuffled the recent pecking order of the cable-news networks.

Fox News Channel, which saw its usual dominance of primetime upset last week by MSNBC, led Monday night in terms of both viewers between 25 and 54 – the demographic most coveted by advertisers – as well as overall audience, according to preliminary numbers from Nielsen. Fox snared 884,000 viewers between 25 and 54, compared with 729,000 for CNN and 444,000 for MSNBC.

The fluctuating measures suggest that no network’s position is guaranteed in a chaotic news cycle that has sparked rabid consumption of TV news even as it has polarized audiences. MSNBC’s primetime schedule, led by 9 p.m. host Rachel Maddow, handily won last week. The audience spikes appeared to be driven by a series of news breaks surrounding the government’s ongoing investigation into Russian interference with U.S. elections, and suspicion that Trump campaign staffers could have had some involvement. MSNBC and CNN have plunged into the stories, while Fox News Channel’s primetime programs have not.

MSNBC has surged in recent days. The NBCUniversal-owned outlet was the most-watched cable-news network in weekday primetime in both the advertiser demo and overall viewers for the week of May 15th, marking the first time the network has triumphed over both Fox News and CNN in the same week in its history. MSNBC launched as a joint venture between NBC and Microsoft in July of 1996. It also marked the second consecutive week in which MSNBC won in the demo.

For the month of May through the 21st, Fox News continues to lead in the advertiser demo as well as in terms of overall viewers.

Breaking-news coverage tends to upset ongoing trends. Moments of crisis, terrorist attacks and political elections tend to draw out viewers who do not tune in regularly to Anderson Cooper, Lawrence O’Donnell or Sean Hannity.

More TV

  • On-Location Filming Slides 3.9% in Los

    On-Location Filming Slides 3.9% in Los Angeles in Second Quarter

    Held down by a lack of soundstage space, total on-location filming in greater Los Angeles declined 3.9% in the second quarter to 8,632 shoot days, permitting agency FilmLA reported Thursday. “Although our latest report reveals a decline in filming on location, local production facilities tell us that they are operating at capacity,” said FilmLA president [...]

  • Don Johnson

    'Nash Bridges' Revival With Don Johnson in Development at USA Network

    USA Network is in early development on a revival of “Nash Bridges,” Variety has confirmed. Original series star Don Johnson has signed on to star in the series, reprising the title role he played for six seasons when the show originally ran on CBS. Carlton Cuse, who created the original show, is not attached as he [...]

  • BH90210: L-R: Brian Austin Green, Gabrielle

    'BH90210's' the Peach Pit Pop-Up to Open in L.A. (EXCLUSIVE)

    Fox and Popsugar have teamed up to open the Peach Pit in celebration of “BH90210,” Variety has learned exclusively. The beloved retro diner has been recreated for the upcoming continuation series debuting August 7 on Fox, and for a few nights leading up to the big premiere, reservations can be made to dine in. Taking [...]

  • John FordNPact Awards, Show, Los Angeles,

    John Ford to Exit as Head of Unscripted Producers Trade Association NPact

    John Ford has stepped down as general manager of NPact, the trade association that represents unscripted TV producers. Ford is exiting the post he’s held since 2015 because of the potential for conflicts of interest arising from his role as head of programming for digital multicast outlets Justice Network and Quest Network. The channels were [...]

  • Justin Connolly

    Disney Merges All Media Sales and TV Channel Distribution Under Justin Connolly

    Disney promoted Justin Connolly to the new role of president, media distribution, overseeing a single organization that combines all of the company’s media sales and TV channel distribution operations. Connolly previously served as EVP, affiliate sales and marketing, Disney and ESPN Media Networks. Based in New York, he will report to Kevin Mayer, chairman of [...]

  • Kevin Reilly

    WarnerMedia's HBO Max Unveils Content Team

    WarnerMedia has unveiled its original programming and business operations and strategy teams as the company builds out its HBO Max streaming platform. Sarah Aubrey will lead the original programming group as head of original content, reporting to HBO Max chief content officer Kevin Reilly. Joining her on that team are Joey Chavez as executive vice [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content