MSNBC: #1 Cable News Network In Primetime For Two Days Post-Election

The reelection of President Barack Obama was certainly a gratifying victory for Democrats and supporters of a moderate path forward for America. However, it also seems to have been a victory for the left-of-center cable news network, MSNBC.

MSNBC Crushing FoxFox News has been dominating the cable news ratings for about a decade. The primary reason for that is their having corralled all of the right-wing viewers while everyone else is scattered amongst the other networks. Nevertheless, that distinction gives them bragging rights and an over-sized reputation.

However, for the days (two, so far) that have followed the election, MSNBC has usurped the leader’s crown and ascended to become the number one network in cable news for primetime. In fact, on Thursday MSNBC beat Fox for the whole broadcast day. MSNBC performed well above their third quarter averages for their primetime programming, which had already outperformed their 2011 third quarter by more than twenty percent.

Almost every primetime program on MSNBC beat their Fox competition. The only exception was Ed Schultz who is up against Fox’s highest rated show, the O’Reilly Factor. Schultz, however, did increase his own ratings considerably, just not enough to surpass O’Reilly.

The standouts were Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell who trounced Sean Hannity and Greta Van Susteren, respectively. Maddow exceeded Hannity by 27% on Wednesday and a whopping 75% on Thursday. O’Donnell dunked Van Susteren on Wednesday by 64% and by 32% on Thursday.

This isn’t a one-time occurrence either. In September MSNBC bested Fox during the Democratic convention. Then they repeated their win after the release of the famous “47%” video of Romney secretly recorded at a Florida fundraiser.

It is notable that MSNBC achieved their win over Fox by growing their own audience while Fox’s audience remained fairly stable. So this isn’t a case of Fox’s viewers having tuned out the news after a depressing defeat. It remains to be seen whether this is a mere bump in the election afterglow, or a serious turnaround in the cable ratings race. But it is clear that there is room for MSNBC to grow and make a credible challenge to Fox’s dominance.


7 thoughts on “MSNBC: #1 Cable News Network In Primetime For Two Days Post-Election

  1. Maybe, just maybe, a literate population is waking up. Maybe, just maybe, Fox is on the decline, and headed for the sewer from which they emerged. Rachel was fabulous on Elcetion night…not a better anchor anywhere. Why in the heck she isn’t hosting MTP is beyond me. Gregory is an idiot.

    • I agree with everything you said, Sally, especially the last line.

  2. “The reelection of President Barack Obama was certainly a gratifying victory for Democrats and supporters of a moderate path forward for America” I must admit, you are as nutty as anyone I’ve ever read – Moderate???? – what a bunch of bullshit. You and this president are as moderate as I am – and that isn’t remotely moderate. You are both much closer to communist – so yes, the American people voted for something closer to communism and/or socialism.

    • Steve, I wish I could give awards because your comments here are the most consistently asinine things I read all day.

      Even if you don’t believe that Obama is a moderate (he is – I am not), your argument certifies that you are an idiot. You just wrote that “the American people voted for something closer to communism and/or socialism.”

      OK then, it’s settled. All the conservative bullshit about this being a center-right nation can be put aside. The people want a government that is much more to the left. So me and my liberal pals win – you lose. Now, can we get on with the business of making a nation that has more prosperity, compassion, and equality, and dispense with the bogus, pseudo-free market nonsense that the wealthy, elitist, power mongers have been shoving down our throats? Or don’t you believe in democracy?

    • Just when I thought the Wackos couldn’t get any whackier, here you are! Thanks for the laugh!

  3. Seriously? The blip was because so many Fox viewers were too depressed at the prospect of four more years of incompetence to watch any news. Fox had a few down nights during the Democratic convention, too.

    Overall? On election night, “FOX News Channel averaged its highest-rated primetime ever with 11.5 million viewers, beating its previous primetime record of 9.2 million viewers in 2008” (the night of the 2008 VP debate).

    2012 PRIMETIME election coverage (8:00-11:00PM) versus 2008 ratings
    FNC: 11,453,464 in total viewers – up from 9,044,000 in 2008 or +27%); 4,451,387 viewers in 25-54, up from 3,925,000 (+13%) in 2008

    CNN: 9,251,678 in total viewers – down from 12,304,000 (-25%) in 2008; 4,572,022 in 25-54, down from 5,820,000 (-21%) in 2008.

    MSNBC: 4,666,307 in total viewers, down from 5,889,000 (-21%) from 2008; 1,996,555 in 25-54, down from 2,663,000 (-25%) in 2008

    For Fox to be up 27% in total viewers and 13% in the demo means their viewership is growing. For the story to be true – that being the “Anti-Fox” news grows viewership – then Keith Olbermann would have seen improving ratings in 2010 – when he actually lost 11% of his total audience, and 25% of the 25-54 demographic; both part of the reason he was fired, one would guess. And he was then their top-rated, and very “Anti-Fox” host, but losing share. Rachel Maddow is hysterically funny saying, “Fox News is political, but MSNBC isn’t,” while this story claims she and Mathews are actually unapologetic supporters of “Obama’s America” (as if we couldn’t figure that out! The clips tell the story:

    • Nice way to change the subject. This article is about the POST-election ratings where MSNBC beat Fox three nights in a row (while Fox did not decline, so it wasn’t Fox viewers tuning out). Your data is from election night, which is not a part of my analysis.

      And bringing up Olbermann who has not been on MSNBC for almost two years is absurd. Also, Maddow’s point in the the video you linked (which is also off-topic) is that Fox HOSTS were supporting GOP candidates. But the video plays mostly Dem candidates promoting themselves on MSNBC – not the MSNBC hosts. So again, two different things.

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