Alex Wagner’s New MSNBC Show Saw Double-Digit Ratings Drop in First Week

In the 9 p.m. ET hour, “Alex Wagner Tonight” slipped 15% in total viewers and 23% in the key news demo compared to the week before

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MSNBC is already feeling the loss of a five-days-a-week Rachel Maddow. The network has seen a viewership decline at the 9 p.m. ET hour since Alex Wagner took over the timeslot last week, both in overall viewership and within the advertiser-coveted age demographic of viewers aged 25 to 54.

In the week of Wagner’s debut last Tuesday, MSNBC’s total viewership for the hour dropped 15%, from 2 million viewers the week prior to 1.73 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. The show dropped an even steeper 23% in the key news demo, from 214,000 viewers for the full week before to 164,000.

Among all the cable news networks, Wagner’s show still managed to finish second for the hour on the four nights she aired, behind Fox News’ “Hannity,” which nabbed 2.8 million total viewers. “CNN Tonight” was a distant third, with 766,000.

However, Wagner finished only slightly ahead of CNN in the key demo, drawing 164,000 compared to 162,000 for CNN. (Fox News nabbed 391,000 in the news demo for the time slot between August 16-19.)

“Alex Wagner Tonight” finished 20th among all cable news shows last week in the key demo, while “Hannity” ranked third (averaging 388,000 viewers aged 25-54 for the full week). The lone “Rachel Maddow Show” on August 15 was good enough for ninth place, with 233,000 demo viewers.

When Wagner debuted her new show Tuesday, Aug. 16, MSNBC blew CNN out of the water with 2 million total viewers compared to a total audience of about 866,000 earned by CNN. However, Fox News’ “Hannity” beat MSNBC and CNN combined with 3.1 million total viewers, with 404,000 of those in the demo.

CNN has struggled in the 9 p.m. timeslot since firing Chris Cuomo last December over his involvement in advising his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, on claims of sexual assault.

“The Rachel Maddow Show,” which airs only on Mondays now, was the only non-Fox News show to break into the top 10 cable news shows in terms both total viewers and viewers in the key demo last week. In July, the month after Maddow shifted to weekly hosting duties, the show averaged about 2.4 million viewers and was the only non-Fox News show to break into the top five cable news shows in terms of total viewers.

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