Oops! MSNBC brags about ratings victory over Fox News too soon


For first time in history, MSNBC dominates primetime ratings over Fox News” blared headlines across the internet Tuesday morning.

But, not so fast.

MSNBC released a misleading press release on Monday touting the left-leaning network had finally toppled Fox News Channel’s ratings for a full week.

Numerous journalists and left-leaning online publications breathlessly ran with the “news.”

A press release from FNC, however, shows MSNBC was too quick with its ratings trigger finger and only counted the numbers from Monday – Friday.

Given the industry standard usually includes all seven days of the week and given the Trump administration’s relentless and turbulent schedule, Saturdays and Sundays have become ratings cash cows. The real bragging rights for MSNBC are actually just for one day, according to The Hill.

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And it matters, bigly.

So much so, that FNC not only beat MSNBC in primetime for the full week of July 17th – 23rd (contrary to MSNBC’s misleading press release), FNC continued to dominate all basic cable networks for 29 consecutive weeks. When the full day is factored in, not only does MSNBC lag behind FNC, but it also falls behind Nickelodeon.

As for CNN? Forget about it.

Here is the FNC press release:


FNC Also Outpaces All Cable Networks in Primetime for Ninth Week in a Row on MondaySunday basis 

FOX News Channel (FNC) continued to eclipse all basic cable networks in total day for 29 consecutive weeks, averaging 1.2 million in total viewers last week, according to Nielsen Media Research. Additionally, in primetimeFNC has now been the most-watched cable network in all of basic cable for nine weeks in a row on a MondaySunday basis, delivering 1.9  million total viewers. Among cable news for the week of July 17th-23rd , FNC eclipsed both MSNBC and CNN in primetime and total day viewership with P2+.

For the year of 2017 to date, FOX News Channel (FNC) is up double digits in all categories vs. 2016 and ranks as the number one basic cable network in primetime and total day. In primetime, FNC averages 2.5 million total viewers (up 11%) and 507,000 in A25-54 (up 16%) . In total day, FNC delivers 1.5 million total viewers (up 20%)  and 328,000 in A25-54 (up 30%). Additionally, FNC continues to outpace its cable news competition in all categories for the year so far. Please see below for correlating Nielsen data.

***Below is the corresponding Nielsen Media Research

 Week of July 17th-23rd, 2017

Basic Cable Top 5 – Primetime (P2+)

  1. FNC (1,930,000)
  2. MSNBC (1,842,000)
  3. HGTV (1,513,000)
  4. USA (1,375,000)
  5. DISCOVERY (1,368,000)

Basic Cable Top 5 – Total Day (P2+)

  1. FNC (1,223,000)
  2. NICK (1,215,000)
  3. MSNBC (955,000)
  4. HGTV (842,000)
  5. ADULT SWIM (765,000)

Cable News Rankings (P2+)

  • FNC ranked #1 in primetime (1,930,000 P2+) and #1 in total day (1,223,000 P2+)
  • CNN ranked #10 in primetime (952,000 P2+) and #8 in total day (680,000 P2+)
  • MSNBC ranked #2 in primetime (1,842,000 P2+) and #3 in total day (955,000 P2+)

2017 To Date Basic Cable Ratings


Basic Cable Top 5 – Primetime (P2+)

  1. FNC (2,528,000)
  2. ESPN (1,714,000)
  3. MSNBC (1,546,000)
  4. HGTV (1,514,000)
  5. USA (1,440,000)

Basic Cable Top 5 – Total Day (P2+)

  1. FNC (1,548,000)
  2. NICK (1,170,000)
  3. HGTV (863,000)
  4. MSNBC (836,000)
  5. ADULT SWIM (821,000)

2017 To Date Cable News Ratings

  • FNC primetime (2,528,000 P2+; 507,000 A25-54) and total day (1,548,000 P2+; 342,000 A25-54)

  • CNN primetime (1,083,000 P2+; 374,000 A25-54) and total day (784,000 P2+; 256,000 A25-54)

  • MSNBC in primetime (1,546,000 P2+; 363,000 A25-54) and in total day (836,000 P2+; 195,000 A25-54)


So, there you have it.

MSNBC can certainly tout dominating CNN as of late, but we understand that fact can hardly be counted as bragging rights.

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As far as beating Fox News? Nice try.


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