Fox News is hemorrhaging young viewers, but last week, things hit a new low for Fox. Rachel Maddow beat Fox News for the entire week with viewers age 25-54.
According to TVNewser, “The Rachel Maddow Show” averaged 325,000 A25-54 viewers for the week, topping Fox News’ “The Kelly File,” which drew 305,000, and “Piers Morgan Tonight,” which had 159,000. It was MSNBC’s best 9pmET performance since the week of the Boston Marathon bombing (4/15/13). MSNBC’s coverage of the Chris Christie bridge scandal propelled MSNBC to#1 in the primetime demo on both Thursday and Friday of last week. Maddow won the 9pmET timeslot among younger viewers both nights.”
Moving Megyn Kelly to 9 PM was supposed to lure young viewers to Fox News. That move has failed as Kelly isn’t drawing the younger demographic that Fox News desperately needs for the future. The Maddow victory comes on the heels of Fox News seeing a 30% drop in young viewership in 2013. These numbers are also a huge victory for Maddow. She broke the Bridgegate story, and it is nice to see her being rewarded for some excellent reporting.
Rachel Maddow’s ratings have plummeted since Chris Hayes came aboard, and singlehandedly destroyed MSNBC’s primetime ratings. Despite her big week, Maddow still drew less than half of the total audience of Megyn Kelly (2.156 million to 1.034 million). Her program still has a long way to go before it is strong enough to overcome the weak All In lead in and challenge for number one, but this is real progress.
Maddow’s ability to defeat Fox News for a week demonstrates how dire the problem with attracting younger viewers has become for the Roger Ailes. Fox News is television’s senior citizens center for Republicans. If Maddow had a decent lead in at 8 PM, the kind that Keith Olbermann and Ed Schultz used to provide, she could be beating Fox News with younger viewers on a regular basis.
Fox News needs younger viewers in order to guarantee its long term health, and those viewers have consistently demonstrated that they have no interest in what Fox is selling. Putting a younger face in front of the same Republican propaganda isn’t going to draw younger viewers. Fox News doesn’t get that the problem is the message, not the messenger.
Rachel Maddow has an extremely appealing program, and if MSNBC could ever get its act together, Fox News would be in real trouble.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association