Rachel Maddow finished as the number one show on cable news, and MSNBC was the top network on cable news after the Republican health care bill failed in the House.
On Friday after the health care bill failed, more viewers watched Rachel Maddow (3.058 million) than watched Bill O’Reilly on Fox News (2.363 million). MSNBC’s The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell (2.328 million) drew more viewers than Fox’s Sean Hannity (2.235 million). The only MSNBC program that did worse than Fox News primetime was Chris Hayes, but All In still drew 2.154 million viewers.
MSNBC has been on an incredible ratings roll since Donald Trump took office. According to an MSNBC statement provided to PoliticusUSA, “The Rachel Maddow Show at 9pm finished March 2017 as the #1 cable news show in the key A25-54 demo in the M-F 9-10pm time period. This marks the first time MSNBC has been #1 in the A25-54 demo during that time period ever, and the first time in almost five years since MSNBC beat FOX News in the demo in any hour for the month (previous was “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” in December 2012). “The Rachel Maddow Show” and MSNBC had its best total viewer delivery in the time period ever in the show’s eight-and-a-half years or network’s 20-year history and the best A25-54 delivery since November 2008. “The Rachel Maddow Show’s” total audience was up +106% over March 2016, while CNN was flat (+3%) and FOX News was up +11%. In the A25-54 demo, “The Rachel Maddow Show” grew +103% year-over-year, besting CNN (+14%) – attaining its biggest lead over CNN since February 2014 – and FOX News (+18%). For the first quarter of 2017, “The Rachel Maddow Show” beat CNN in both total viewers and A25-54. The show delivered its best total viewer delivery ever and best A25-54 delivery in the time period since 4Q08.”
Maddow’s show is the driving force in prime time, but MSNBC is setting records and getting more viewers than they have ever had before. The answer for why MSNBC’s growth has exploded is because it is the only network that doesn’t cater to Donald Trump. CNN became Trump television during the campaign, and Fox News is the de facto state-run television network of the Trump administration.
MSNBC has shifted to a hard news model during the day and a prime-time lineup that concentrates on substance over style in the evenings.