Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Maddow Benefits From Liberal Viewership Even After Trump Tax Forms Fiasco
been challenging Fox at 9 p.m., the centerpiece of
the prime time schedule.
"The Rachel Maddow Show" surpassed "Tucker Carlson Tonight" in March
among 25- to 54-year-old viewers, the demographic that determines advertising
Maddow was on track to win again in April. But on Monday night the cable news
ratings race changed dramatically. Carlson moved from 9 p.m. to 8, replacing
Bill O'Reilly, and Fox's 5 p.m. talk show "The Five" moved to 9.
Maddow may or may not benefit from the change. Regardless, executives all
across television news have already taken notice of her recent wins.
According to Nielsen data, Maddow also narrowly topped Fox's 8 p.m. hour
last week, when Dana Perino and Greg Gutfeld filled in for O'Reilly.
Maddow's surge is being fueled partly by her day-in, day-out criticism of the
Trump administration. There is an increased appetite for the liberal arguments
she has been making for years.
"There's a reason Rachel is beating Fox and CNN," MSNBC president Phil
Griffin told CNNMoney in an email. "She's a talented storyteller who's helping
her audience cut through all the confusion coming out of Washington. She's
connecting dots in ways no one else is."
Maddow is known for flouting the conventions of cable news. She delivers long,
informative monologues that sometimes last for 20 minutes.
Her numbers have sagged somewhat since then, but Maddow still out-rated
Carlson in the 25-54 demo for 12 of the 20 weeknights in April, according to
Of course, some Maddow viewers wouldn't be caught dead watching
Carlson's show and vice versa.
This polarization was lamented by former president Barack Obama at an
event with students on Monday.
"These days, you don't have to confront people if you have different
opinions," Obama said on stage. "If you're liberal, you're on MSNBC. If
you're conservative, you're on Fox News."
Among total viewers, Fox virtually always beats other cable news channels,
because the channel's audience skews older than CNN and MSNBC's audience.
Carlson averages more than 3 million viewers a night.
But no one knows quite will happen without O'Reilly as the cornerstone of
Fox's prime time lineup.
Maddow's performance will be closely watched as the O'Reilly-less era of
cable news gets underway.
For two decades Fox has benefited from having a relatively consistent prime
time schedule. But now it's MSNBC and CNN that seem consistent while
Fox is making changes. Maddow has been on at 9 p.m. for almost a decade.
She initially benefited from having Keith Olbermann as a lead-in. Now
Lawrence O'Donnell at 10 p.m. benefits from her.
"You know, I will say I don't pretend to understand what brings people to the
show," Maddow recently told Vulture's Joe Adalian. "I don't think I have more
insight than anybody else into why more people are watching. But it is super
gratifying to me, and everybody who works on the show, that we are just doing
what we've always done. We're continuing the work we've built the capacity to
do and that we really believe is the best approach for what I bring to looking
at the news of the day. And it's, for whatever reason, a rewarding thing for