MSNBC beat both Fox News and CNN in weekday primetime among both total viewers and the key news demo for the first time ever last week.
Fox News typically dominates cable news competition but MSNBC was the No. 2 most-watched network in all of basic cable for prime from May 15-19, behind only behind TNT’s NBA-playoff heavy schedule.
MSNBC averaged 2.44 million primetime viewers, compared to 2.4 million for Fox News and 1.6 million for CNN. Among the key news demo of adults age 25-54, MSNBC averaged 611,000 viewers from 8-11 p.m., compared to 589,000 for CNN and 497,000 for Fox News.
Last week was only the second time ever MSNBC has won weekday prime in total viewers. The first win was back in 2012 during the Democratic National Convention, but the network failed to win the demo that week. Despite MSNBC’s hot streak, Fox News remains the No. 1 cable network in primetime for the month of May. Fox News also beat both MSNBC and CNN last week among total day viewers, meaning Rupert Murdoch’s cable network only slipped during primetime.
TNT averaged 3.18 million total viewers during primetime to dominate the category, but a variety of President Trump-related news lifted MSNBC, Fox News and CNN to the next three spots, respectively. USA, NBC Sports Network, TBS, Nickelodeon, HGTV and ESPN round out the top ten.
TNT was the only basic cable network to average more than one-million weekday primetime viewers among the key demo last week, racking up 1.6 million viewers between the ages 25-54. TBS, NBC Sports, USA and MSNBC joined TNT among the top five, while CNN and ESPN both finished ahead of Fox News, which ranked eighth.
“The Rachel Maddow Show,” “Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell”” and “The 11th Hour” all beat cable news competitors in their respective time slots among total viewers, while Maddow and O’Donnell also beat Fox News and CNN among the demo.
Only TNT has ranked ahead of Fox News since the network unveiled its new primetime lineup on April 24 after Bill O’Reilly was fired amid sexual harassment allegations.