MSNBC dominated Fox News and CNN during Friday’s ratings as cable news channels turned their attention to cover former President Donald Trump’s newly unsealed federal indictment.
As viewers tuned in to get the details on the former president’s mishandling of classified documents — which the editorial board of the National Review condemned as impossible for anyone to read and “not be appalled” — MSNBC scored the highest total viewership and demo viewership among the cable news channels both in total day and primetime, leading Friday to become MSNBC’s second-most-watched day of the year, behind April 4, when Trump was arraigned in Manhattan on New York state charges unrelated to the federal charges.
In terms of total day figures, MSNBC came in first place with 1.51 million total viewers, while Fox News brought in 1.32 million total viewers and CNN drew in 730,000 total viewers on average, according to Nielsen live-plus-same-day figures. The trend remained in the demo for Friday as MSNBC brought in a viewership of 185,000 among adults 25-54 while Fox News followed behind with 139,000 viewers in the demo and CNN came in third place with 128,000 viewers in the demo.
MSNBC’s victory stretched into the morning as well: The 6-9 a.m. airing of “Morning Joe” averaged 1.24 million total viewers, beating Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” with total viewership of 1.04 million and the total viewership brought in by “CNN This Morning” of 398,000 viewers on average during the time slot. “Morning Joe” also swept in the demo with 148,000 viewers in the demo on average, while “Fox and Friends” brought in 122,000 demo viewers and “CNN This Morning” drew in 86,000 viewers in the demo on average.
In primetime, MSNBC secured its most-watched spot with an average total viewership of 1.95 million, significantly above Fox News’ total viewership of 1.53 million. CNN brought in 813,000 total viewers on average. While MSNBC still led demo viewers in primetime with 240,000 viewers in the demo, CNN’s demo viewership of 120,000 outnumbered Fox News’ primetime demo viewership, which was 116,000 adults 25-54.
Within primetime, MSNBC’s special coverage of Trump’s indictment from 8-10 p.m., helmed by Rachel Maddow, Alex Wagner, Chris Hayes, Joy Reid and Lawrence O’Donnell, as well as “The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell” at 10 p.m. scored the top spot both in total and demo viewers.
Special coverage of Trump’s indictment will continue this week as the former president was arrested on Tuesday and officially charged with 37 counts surrounding his alleged mishandling of over 100 classified documents containing national security information.