Fox dominates, MSNBC struggles behind CNN in third-quarter ratings

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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While cable news viewership was down across the board in the third quarter coming out of the 2012 election cycle, the decline took its biggest toll on MSNBC, according to data released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

The MSNBC dip happened despite several line-up shuffles by the network, including re-introducing “The ED Show,” host by left-wing firebrand Ed Schultz at 5 p.m. ET and relegating “Hardball” with Chris Matthews to 7 p.m. ET only.

Fox News Channel continued its winning ways for the 47th consecutive quarter and 141st consecutive month, topping all its competitors — including all of its competitors combined in total viewers in primetime. It is also the second consecutive quarter that CNN has topped MSNBC.

Among MSNBC’s struggles include the network’s signature program, “The Rachel Maddow Show” at 9 p.m., which drew its lowest-rated quarter ever in both total viewers and the demo.

“The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” saw the lowest-rated quarter in the 10 p.m. time slot. And, “All In with Chris Hayes” marked the lowest-rated demo numbers since 2006.


FNC: 1,024,000 total viewers — down 11%; (207,000 in 25-54 — down 23%)
CNN: 421,000 total viewers — up 9%; (135,000 in 25-54 — up 14%)
MSNBC: 374,000 total viewers — down 27%; (130,000 in 25-54 — down 26%)
HLN: 285,000 total viewers — up 20%; (113,000 in 25-54 — up 15%) 


FNC: 1,609,000 total viewers — down 20% (279,000 in 25-54 — down 29%)
CNN: 542,000 total viewers — down 12%; (179,000 in 25-54 — down 5%)
MSNBC: 568,000 total viewers — down 39%; (190,000 in 25-54 — down 36%)
HLN: 365,000 total viewers — up 17%; (136,000 in 25-54 — up 24%)

The top programming for all of cable news during the third quarter were three Fox News shows — “The O’Reilly Factor” (2,540,000), “The Five” (1,871,000) and “Special Report” (1,788,000).

In the coveted 25-54 demographic, three Fox News Channel shows also led the way — “The O’Reilly Factor” (402,000); “Hannity” (316,000); “The Five” (302,000).

Also, Fox late-night favorite “Red Eye” is on schedule to be first in the 3 a.m. ET timeslot for the 50th consecutive month with total audience, and the 40th consecutive month in the 25-54 demo.

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