Mad­dow, MSNBC surge as home for Trump op­po­nents

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - BUSINESS - BY DAVID BAUDER

For the first month since CNN’s Larry King owned ca­ble news in Oc­to­ber 2001, the most pop­u­lar per­son­al­ity in prime­time doesn’t work for Fox News Chan­nel. Rachel Mad­dow of MSNBC is the new champ.

Her net­work achieved other mile­stones in July, in­clud­ing its clos­est fin­ish to Fox since 2000 and largest mar­gin of vic­tory over CNN ever. The num­bers il­lus­trate a surge in pop­u­lar­ity at MSNBC, where pol­i­tics has be­come prime-time en­ter­tain­ment. Like late-night comic Stephen Colbert can at­test, hav­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump as a reg­u­lar punch­ing bag is great for busi­ness.

“I thought there would be a lot of in­ter­est in news,” said MSNBC Pres­i­dent Phil Grif­fin. “I had no idea this would hap­pen.”

It’s es­pe­cially note­wor­thy be­cause the year af­ter an elec­tion tra­di­tion­ally sig­nals a slump in ca­ble news rat­ings. Dur­ing prime-time week­day hours in July, Fox News av­er­aged 2.36 mil­lion view­ers - still more than any other ca­ble net­work, news or en­ter­tain­ment. MSNBC was at 2.13 mil­lion and CNN and 961,000, ac­cord­ing to the Nielsen com­pany.

A wider view il­lus­trates how things have changed. Ear­lier this year, Fox rou­tinely had more view­ers than MSNBC and CNN com­bined. Those two net­works fre­quently duke it out for sec­ond place; last Novem­ber CNN av­er­aged 1.83 mil­lion view­ers to MSNBC’s 1.64 mil­lion, Nielsen said. MSNBC took over sec­ond ear­lier this year and the gap con­tin­ues to widen.

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