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Sean Hannity v Rachel Maddow Showdown: Who Will Win in 9 PM Primetime Slot?

"Hannity" is shifting up an hour early next month to make room for Fox News newbie Laura Ingraham

Sean Hannity is headed (back) to Rachel Maddow's 9 o'clock turf next month -- but which one will own the time slot once that happens?

Year-to-date, MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" has averaged 2.49 million total viewers at 9 p.m., with 581,000 of them coming from the key 25-54 ratings demographic. An hour later, over on Fox News, "Hannity" has averaged 2.62 million and 579,000 viewers, respectively.

Rachel Maddow's demo ratings have topped Sean Hannity's Nielsen numbers for six straight months now, though with a difference of just 2,000 viewers thus far this year, that race is pretty darn tight.

It's very important to talk about the two different time slot's "HUT" -- or Homes Using Televisions -- levels here.

Simply put, more people are awake at 9 than at 10, making this 2017 Maddow-Hannity comparison something like apples-to-oranges -- and it could give Hannity current ratings numbers a bump when he shifts to a time slot that has more overall viewership.

Directly head-to-head in the demo, Maddow has bested Fox's "The Five" each of the five months since it moved into her time slot. That show is shifting back to 5 p.m. for Laura Ingraham's "The Ingraham Angle" at 10 p.m.

"The Five" stepped in to the slot after Bill O'Reilly was fired from Fox News in April. It's possible the show needed more time to find its audience, and Hannity may initially struggle to regain viewers who've grown accustomed to his show airing later.

Of course, "Hannity" used to air at 9, directly competing with the bespectacled face of MSNBC. The show shifted back to 10 in October 2013, with its host explaining he wanted time to eat more dinners at home.

Back then, "Hannity" averaged 1.9 million total viewers to Maddow's modest 845,000. In the main demo, he drew 347,000, while she averaged 242,000. Of course, Maddow's viewership has exploded in the era of President Donald Trump, and nothing is what is used to be.

Hannity will return to 9 o'clock -- and brown-bag dinners -- on Monday.