Maddow, MSNBC surge as home for Trump opponents
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.