Cable News Ratings: MSNBC Stops the Bleeding, Fox News Jumps to No. 2 in All of Primetime Cable

“Lean Forward” network ends downward ratings slide with double-digit growth in total day and primetime viewers in July


30 Rock is rocking on Tuesday as MSNBC executives finally have something to smile about.

The network, which has been been on one of the worst ratings streaks in its history over the last year, saw double-digit growth during the day and at night. MSNBC’s daytime lineup was up 17 percent in viewers and 4 percent in the 25-54 demo compared to the same time last year. In primetime, the network spiked 12 percent in viewers and 3 percent in the demo year-over-year.

The “Lean Forward” network saw key spikes in many of its shows in the Monday-Friday ratings: “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” was up 23 percent; “All In with Chris Hayes” — rumored to be on the chopping block — increased 13 percent in total viewers; “Hardball with Chris Matthews” jumped 11 percent; “Morning Joe” saw 10-percent growth; and “The Rachel Maddow Show” spiked 7 percent.

The growth comes as MSNBC is reportedly set to cancel its entire 3-5 p.m ET block, which includes “The Cycle,” “Now with Alex Wagner” and the “Ed Show” with Ed Schultz.

CNN was up across the board: 6 percent in daytime viewers and 5 percent in the daytime demo, while seeing an increase of 9 percent in primetime viewers and 6 percent in the primetime demo.

Some CNN highlights included “New Day” beating MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” in the demo for the 13th straight month (“MJ” won total viewers for the fifth straight month).

“AC360” with Anderson Cooper jumped 17 percent in viewers and 6 percent in the demo, and “CNN Tonight” with Don Lemon saw double-digit growth, up 20 percent in viewers and 22 percent in the demo.

Sister network HLN beat MSNBC in the daytime demo for the 15th straight month in July. “Morning Express” with Robin Meade was also the No. 2 cable news show in the demo.

MSNBC President Phil Griffin, NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack, Brian Williams, Rachel Maddow (Getty Images)
MSNBC President Phil Griffin, NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack, Brian Williams, Rachel Maddow (Getty Images)

Fox News was still far out in front as the No. 1 cable news network, and also ranked second in all of primetime cable, up from No. 3 overall in second-quarter ratings. The network trailed only Discovery Channel, which enjoyed the benefit of its wildly popular “Shark Week.”

FNC was up in the primetime demo by 5 percent year-over-year, but saw dips in total day viewers (4 percent); total day demo (7 percent) and primetime viewers (9 percent). Primetime heavyweights Bill O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly saw demo growth, up 4 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

Some big July stories included the Iran nuclear deal, the media’s obsession with Donald Trump, the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina state house and the Bill Cosby scandal.