Cable News Ratings: MSNBC Beats Fox News in Primetime Demo Audience for 2nd Week in a Row

FNC maintained its lead across total day categories and total viewership during primetime

The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC Judge Cannon
"The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell" (Credit: MSNBC)

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MSNBC outpaced Fox News in primetime demo ratings for the second week in a row.

From Monday, June 12 through Friday, June 16, MSNBC averaged 202,400 viewers in the key cable demographic adults ages 25-54 during primetime, beating Fox News’ primetime demo viewership of 193,000 by 4.75%, according to Nielsen live-plus-same-day figures. When Saturday June 17-Sunday June 18 are factored in, MSNBC’s lead declines to 1% in the demo with 159,000 viewers compared to Fox News’ 158,000.

As the networks ramped up their coverage of former President Donald Trump’s indictment and arraignment, Fox News scored the highest demo viewership among cable news networks during primetime on Monday and Tuesday, while MSNBC saw primetime demo wins during the latter half of the week, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

While MSNBC’s victory in the primetime demo certainly marks a shakeup in ratings from years prior, Fox News maintained its lead in all other categories across primetime and total day viewership.

In terms of total viewership in the demo, Fox News scored an average audience of 1.85 million total viewers during the week, but MSNBC wasn’t far behind with total average viewership of 1.83 million. Though Fox News consistently outnumbered MSNBC for total viewership during primetime last week — winning the No. 1 spot from Tuesday through Friday — MSNBC came in first among total primetime viewers on Monday evening, when MSNBC scored an average 2.13 million viewers and Fox News came in second with 1.82 total viewers.

In total day, Fox News beat MSNBC in both total viewers and in the key demo during the week, with Fox News averaging 1.28 million total viewers and 149,000 viewers in the demo, beating MSNBC’s average total viewership of 1.12 million and a demo viewership of 132,000.

During Thursday’s primetime, Fox News averaged a higher total viewership during across all of evening’s programs, except for when the 10 p.m. airing of “The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell” nabbed 1.77 million total viewers as compared to “The Ingraham Angle’s” total viewership of 1.74 million.

Fox News and MSNBC traded the No. 1 spot for demo viewership during Thursday’s primetime, with MSNBC taking the lead during the 8 p.m. hour with “All in With Chris Hayes” as well as the 10 p.m. hour. Conversely, Fox News averaged a higher demo viewership during the 9 p.m. airing of “Hannity” and the 11 p.m. airing of “Gutfeld!”

During Friday’s primetime, Fox News swept total viewership among the cable news networks for all primetime hours while MSNBC scored a higher demo viewership during all primetime hours except for 11 p.m., when Fox News scored 208,000 demo viewers on average, twice that of MSNBC’s demo viewership of 101,000. Notably, Fox News’ demo viewership during the 11 p.m. with “Gutfeld!” was its highest demo viewership of the night on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.