With the concerted effort to dismantle Fox News' primetime line-up, progressives have eked out some stunning victories in the ratings department. The biggest news concerns MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, whose program ranked as the most-watched in cable news for the month of August with 2.783 million viewers, according to Nielsen research. It was the far-left pundit's second month in the No. 1 slot.
Maddow narrowly beat Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity, who had 2.679 million total viewers. The remaining shows in the top five for the month were Fox News' Tucker Carlson (2.483 million), MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell (2.352 million) and Fox News' The Five (2.351 million). Maddow was also first among adults 25-54, the critical demographic to advertisers.
While Maddow and O'Donnell were among the best performers in prime time, MSNBC still trailed Fox News Channel. FNC averaged 2.2 million viewers in prime time, putting Fox in first place among all cable networks in prime for the month. The networks dissect the ratings data in myriad ways, but Fox has plenty to tout, including a 14-month streak as the top-rated cable network based on total day ratings and 188 straight months at No. 1 in cable news (total day and prime).
Among slightly younger viewers, adults 18-49, MSNBC was No. 1 in prime for the month.
In prime, MSNBC trailed Fox with 1.835 million total viewers, an increase of 63% from the same period a year ago. CNN had 1.194 million viewers (up 41%). In the key advertiser demo, the race for number one was tight, with FNC first in prime time (466,000), CNN took second place (418,000) and MSNBC was close behind at 410,000. All of the networks saw their audiences rise in the demo compared to a year ago, with MSNBC (up 55%) and CNN (up 54%) more than doubling Fox News' increase (up 25%).
The key takeaway is that there is a concerted effort to shut down right-leaning media presenters while Fake News gains momentum. That's frightening, as the Neilsen research indicates that while overall distrust in media is high among Americans, there is clearly a growing demand for Fake News.