Cable News Ratings: MSNBC Draws Lowest Primetime Viewership in Nearly 7 Years

Still, the news channel beat CNN in primetime total viewers for October

Last Updated: October 28, 2014 @ 6:19 PM

MSNBC president Phil Griffin recently said the cable news network needs to evolve. The October ratings agree with him.

Also read:  MSNBC’s President Phil Griffin Defends ‘Strong Brand’ Amid Ratings Woes

Monday-Sunday ratings for October 2014 delivered MSNBC’s lowest primetime total viewers since December 2007 and its lowest primetime demographic rating since June 2005. MSNBC primetime drew 502,000 total viewers and 122,000 in its key demo 25-54 viewers. Compared to the same month last year, primetime was down 37 percent in total viewers and 48 percent in the demo.

MSNBC ranked second in primetime total viewers, ahead of CNN and behind first-place Fox News. The network ranked third behind Fox News and CNN in the primetime demo and total day viewers. In the total day demo, MSNBC ranked fourth behind Fox News, CNN, and HLN.

Also read:  CNN Topples MSNBC in August Ratings – But Fox News Is Still No. 1

Compared to October 2013, CNN primetime was down 18 percent in viewers and 3 percent in the demo. In total day, the network was down 5 percent in viewers and flat in the demo. CNN primetime drew 475,000 viewers and 184,000 demo viewers; for total day, CNN garnered 418,000 viewers and 134,000 demo viewers.

As usual, Fox News ranked first in all measurements. Compared to the same month last year, Fox News primetime was down 8 percent in both total viewers and demo. In total day, FNC was down 7 percent in both viewers and the demo. In primetime, Fox News delivered 1,714,000 viewers and 296,000 demo viewers. For total day, Fox drew 1,056,000 viewers and 226,000 demo viewers. On an individual show basis, Fox had the top 14 cable news programs in total viewers and the top nine programs in the 25-54 demo.

Also read:  Cable News Ratings 2013: Fox Tops While CNN Slides Into Second

Looking at measurements strictly on a Monday-Friday basis, MSNBC ranked second in primetime viewers, with 583,000 viewers vs. CNN’s 509,000 viewers. The results were flipped for the demo, as CNN beat MSNBC, 192,000 vs. 114,000. CNN also beat MSNBC in the total day demo, 134k vs. MSNBC’s 85k. That’s four months in a row CNN has edged MSNBC in these demo measurements–its longest streak since 2008.

For total viewers among shows, “Hardball” beat “OutFront” in total viewers (726,000 vs. 590,000). “The Rachel Maddow Show” beat CNN’s 9 p.m. ET (“Anderson Cooper 360” and original series) 725,000 vs. 516,000.  “The Last Word” with Lawrence O’Donnell beat “CNN Tonight” (544,000 vs. CNN’s 479,000).

Again, the numbers are in CNN’s favor when looking at the 25-54 demo. “Outfront” beat “Hardball” (196,000 vs. 124,000), the 9 p.m. hour beat “The Rachel Maddow Show” (208,000 vs. 134,000), and “CNN Tonight” beat “The Last Word” (168,000 vs. 109,000). At 8 p.m., Anderson Cooper’s program defeated MSNBC’s “All In” with Chris Hayes in both measurements: 565,000 viewers vs. MSNBC’s 544,000 viewers; 195,000 demo viewers vs. 106,000 demo viewers. For CNN, “Outfront” had the strongest demo number for the month.

In the morning, “New Day” defeated “Morning Joe” in both total viewers and the demo:  346,000 viewers vs. 342,000 viewers; 108,000 demo viewers vs. 86,000 demo viewers.