MSNBC Wins Ratings Overall, CNN Storms in Demo: A Look at the Cable News Ratings Race in the First Week of February

MSNBC was the most-watched network across all of cable for the week of February 1 through 7, outpacing both CNN and Fox News in total viewers for the second consecutive week. Fox News was the most-watched in prime time, a spot the network has held since the inauguration of President Joe Biden. Neither network, however, was able to reach CNN in viewers age 25-54, as the network continues to dominate with viewers in the key demo.

In total day viewers, MSNBC averaged 1.36 million for the week, while CNN averaged 1.28 million and Fox averaged 1.26 million. In the demo, CNN was first, averaging 305,000, while MSNBC averaged 203,000 total day viewers in the demo, and Fox averaged 200,000, according to data from Nielsen.

In prime time, Fox held the top spot in all of cable among total viewers for the week, averaging 2.36 million total viewers. MSNBC was second, with 2.27 million, and CNN averaged 1.8 million total viewers in prime time. CNN, however, again won the demo by a large margin, averaging 445,000 A25-54 viewers during prime time, compared to 353,000 for Fox and 343,000 for MSNBC.

While all networks saw a decline in viewership from the prior week, CNN saw the most audience growth compared to this time a year ago. CNN was up 77% in total viewers and 53% in the demo from where the network was during the corresponding week in 2020. In prime time, CNN was up 53% from the prior year in total viewers, and 17% in the demo.

MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show was the most-watched show in all of cable for the second consecutive week, averaging 3.8 million total viewers. This marks the fourth time Maddow was first for the week since the start of the year.

With the addition of Maddow, MSNBC had five shows in the top 10 for the week in total viewers, including The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell (fourth, with 2.77 million total viewers), All in with Chris Hayes (seventh, 2.39 million), Deadline: White House (eighth, 2.39 million), and The 11th Hour with Brian Williams (10th, 2.26 million). Fox held three of the top 10 spots, with Tucker Carlson Tonight in second, with 3.46 million total viewers, Hannity in third, with 2.94 million, and The Five in fifth, with 2.77 million. Two CNN shows rounded out the count, with Cuomo Prime Time in sixth place, with 2.41 million total viewers, and Anderson Cooper 360 in ninth, with 2.29 million.

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