MSNBC Finishes Last in Ratings for Third Consecutive Month

The bad news just keeps on coming for the openly left-wing liberal MSNBC channel, which is now in fourth place behind Fox News Channel, CNN and HLN after losing 12 percent of its viewers from a year ago. CNN, meanwhile, had another strong month.

Whether it's because of lineup adjustments made by CNN or because Obama-supporting Democrats are tuning out MSNBC, the fact remains that Cable News Network saw double-digit growth in both total day and prime-time ratings in July when compared to the same month in 2012.

In total day numbers, an average of 520,000 viewers tuned in to CNN while Fox News drew 1.065 million and MSNBC fell far behind with an audience of 380,000.

The Cable News Network had a busy July covering the George Zimmerman trial, the Asiana Airlines plane crash and the birth of George Alexander Louis to duke of Cambridge William Louis and his wife, Catherine.

As a result, CNN was up 47 percent in total viewers and 69 percent in the important 25- to 54-year-old demographic.

Even the channel's newest program, New Day, which was third in total viewers and fourth in the vital age demographic, rose 45 percent in total viewers and 30 percent among 25- to 54-year-olds during its first six weeks on the air when compared to its morning predecessor, Starting Point.

CNN’s daytime programming -- from 12 noon through 3 p.m. -- was up 49 percent in total viewers and 72 percent in 25-54 viewers compared to July 2012. Each hourly show was the top program in its time slot in that important demographic.

At 4 p.m., The Lead With Jake Tapper attracted a significant number of viewers from 25 to 54 years of age, topping Fox News Channel's Your World with Neil Cavuto -- while the host was off for three weeks of the month.

The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer grew 28 percent in total viewers year over year, while Erin Burnett OutFront rose 24 percent, Anderson Cooper 360 climbed 30 percent and Piers Morgan Live increased its audience also by 30 percent.

The bad news so far this year got even worse for MSNBC during July, when the “Lean Forward” channel fell 12 percent compared to its ratings a year ago and four percent in the 25-54 age demographic.

As NewsBusters previously reported, MSNBC's biggest problem is its weeknight prime-time line-up, with all of the network's programs experiencing double-digit declines this month when compared to a year ago.

All In with Chris Hayes was down 27 percent in total viewers from July of 2012, when The Ed Show was aired during the 8 p.m. time slot. The Rachel Maddow Show lost 19 percent in total viewers, and The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell fell even more, dropping 29 percent.

Nevertheless, MSNBC isn't very far behind CNN's prime-time programs, averaging 583,000 to 672,000 viewers.

But the news for the low-rated channel wasn't all bad. The afternoon shows The Cycle -- a panel discussion program -- Martin Bashir's eponymous hour-long news show and the little-watched Hardball with Chris Matthews had slight ratings increases during the past month.

As usual, Fox News Channel dominated the ratings for all of the cable news channels. However, Fox lost some viewers in the key demographic rating during July for the second straight month, causing the network to attract its lowest 25-54 audience since May of 2006.

So has Jeff Zucker managed to turn the Cable News Network around during the seven months he's been president of the low-rated channel? Was he right to state that CNN covers “much more” than Fox News or MSNBC, which he claims are only “covering politics?”

After examining the ratings numbers, I think that the somewhat-rejuvenated CNN is drawing viewers away from both Fox and MSNBC at least during the summer when interest in politics is generally lower. It will remain to be seen what happens in the future if there are no major news stories or hot trials to push up CNN's ratings.

Randy Hall
Randy Hall