Rachel Maddow has been the queen of political talk over at MSNBC, earning higher-than-ever ratings because of several shakeups over at Fox News. But it took Fox only one night to dethrone her by debuting Sean Hannity in the 9 p.m. slot on Monday evening.
In his first night going head-to-head against current cable news ratings champ Rachel Maddow, Hannity defeated the MSNBC star fairly easily. On a night where he took direct aim at his competitor and interviewed ex-White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, Hannity pulled in 3.27 million total viewers and 666,000 in the key demo, compared to Maddow’s 2.66 million overall and 591,000 in the 25-54 demographic. (CNN’s health care town hall snagged 1.45 million viewers to finish third in the hour.)
That was a ratings slam dunk for Hannity. Fox News scored the lead overall in the 8-11 p.m. block in total viewers with an average of 2.64 million viewers, while MSNBC settled for second with 2.21 million viewers. CNN could gather only 1.3 million sets of eyeballs on its broadcasts.
Fox News’s The Five was also back in its original 5 p.m. time slot and creamed the competition, besting MSNBC’s and CNN’s viewers combined, garnering 2.34 million viewers.
Hannity started his program Monday night, saying, “Tonight begins a new chapter in the cable news wars.” It appears he was right. Tuesday could prove another ratings bonanza for Fox as recently ousted Bill O’Reilly will be a guest on Hannity’s show.