MSNBC’s Primetime Demo Weekend Ratings Hit All-Time Low

CNN and Fox News are beating MSNBC in total-viewership ratings by triple digits


MSNBC’s weekend programming overhaul has yet to result in a ratings triumph. In fact, in primetime on the weekends, the cable news channel is at an all-time low in ratings among the advertiser-coveted age demographic of 25 to 54, according to Nielsen Media Research data.

Ultimately, CNN’s advantage over MSNBC in total average viewers for the period is 107% and its demo advantage of 240%. Fox News’ total average advantage is 346% and in the demo, it’s 393%.

Here’s how the numbers shake out for September: From 8 p.m. ET to 11 p.m. ET on Sundays, MSNBC’s lineup is pulling in a total of 336,000 total average viewers, of whom only 42,000 are in the key demo. CNN, by comparison, has 695,000 total average viewers at that time, with 143,000 in the demo. Fox News wins in both categories with 1.498 million total average viewers in Sunday night primetime and 207,000 demo viewers at that time.

MSNBC launched in 1996, and Nielsen began rating it in 1997. The weekend primetime demo ratings are the lowest MSNBC has seen since it started being tracked by the data company. Compared to the third quarter of 1997, the third quarter of 2021 is down 12% in weekend total-day viewership in the demo and 29% in weekend primetime in the demo.

Compared to the first quarter of this year, the weekend shows on MSNBC are also all down individually. The 8 p.m. Sunday offering, “The Mehdi Hasan Show,” for instance, is down 42% in total average viewers and in demo viewers, too, when compared to first-quarter ratings of “The Week With Joshua Johnson,” which it replaced. “Alex Witt Reports,” which airs from 12 p.m. ET to 3 p.m. on Saturdays, is down 45% in total average viewers and 49% in the demo when compared to the first-quarter ratings of “Weekends With Alex Witt” in the same time slot. Saturday’s 8 p.m. ET show, “Ayman,” is down 27% in total average viewers and 42% in demo viewers when compared with the first-quarter Saturday averages of “The Week With Joshua Johnson.”