Fox News finds itself in unaccustomed spot _ out of first

Posted May 28, 2017

For the week of May 15, MSNBC's weekday prime averaged 2.440 million total viewers, with Fox second with 2.405 million and CNN third with 1.649 million.

Coverage of Donald Trump-related scandals has been a boon for cable news.

Basically, the ongoing and ever-expanding list of scandals involving the Trump administration - many revolving around Russian Federation - has depressed Fox News viewers while simultaneously spiking interest at CNN and MSNBC, driving Fox into the ratings basement.

MSNBC's numbers were bolstered by a strong showing of "The Rachel Maddow Show", which finished as the most-watched non-sports programs for the week among all basic cable channels.

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But it also comes shortly after the firing of star anchor Bill O'Reilly, as Fox is trying to establish a new prime-time lineup. It averaged 3.45 million viewers in prime time to Fox News Channel's 2.17 million, MSNBC's 1.79 million, ESPN's 1.69 million and USA's 1.45 million. The natural implications of those stories might have driven prime-time commentary viewers to the network that has defined itself as the center of the Trump opposition, or to CNN and its perceived middle-road approach, rather than the network which has defined itself as Trump's apologists.

"Fox News has a problem", O'Reilly said last week on a radio show hosted by Glenn Beck, himself a former Fox commentator.

MSNBC beat out its cable news rivals during primetime last week in the key 25-54 demographic and in total viewership for the first time in the network's 21-year existence, according to Nielsen Research.

1 in the demo for total day, with 353K viewers.

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For the month of May through the 21st, Fox News continues to lead in the advertiser demo as well as in terms of overall viewers. Bill O'Reilly was ousted last month amid reports of multiple sexual harassment claims, replaced in the timeslot by Tucker Carlson.

CNN's Anderson Cooper won last week in demographics at 8 p.m., and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow won at 9. Added CNN's Brian Stelter, "This is an extraordinary moment in the cable news race".

MSNBC won across the board, with total viewers and in what TV industry people call the "news demographic": viewers between the ages of 25 to 54 years old.

On Monday, a night when Trump was not the big story, Fox News was in first place in prime time based on preliminary ratings, while CNN led in the 25-to-54 age group.

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