Fox News Tops Q1 Cable News Ratings, Maddow Bests Hannity in Key Demo

Will Thorne

Fox News Channel once again came out on top of the cable news ratings for the first quarter, but not without stiff competition from MSNBC and Rachel Maddow in particular.

In the primetime 8-11 p.m. slot, Fox News averaged 2.4 million total viewers (down 1% from the year-ago quarter), with including 421,000 in the key 25-54 demo, while MSNBC averaged 1.9 million total viewers (up 3% from 2018) and 333,000 in the 25-54 bracket. 

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MSNBC struck back in the 25-54 demo for individual shows, with Maddow beating out Sean Hannity’s FNC program in Q1. Maddow drew 549,000 viewers in the key news demo on average, compared to Hannity’s 547,000 and Tucker Carlson’s 532,000.

However, ultimately the shows split bragging rights. Hannity bested Maddow in terms of average total viewership, drawing 3.12 million compared to 3.06. Maddow was followed by three other FNC shows: “Tucker Carlson Tonight” (2.98 million), “The Five” (2.58 million) and “The Ingraham Angle” (2.43 million). 

Interestingly, in the month of March, Maddow was down in third place in the 25-54 demo at 509,000, behind Hannity at 533,000 and Carlson, who topped the demo for first time, with 537,000. Maddow also lagged the two Fox News hosts in total viewership, averaging 2.89 million average viewers to Hannity’s 3.15 million and Carlson’s 3.03 million.

Meanwhile, CNN grew in total viewership in the primetime 8-11 p.m. slot for Q1 with just over 1 million average total viewers, a 7% bump from the same quarter in 2018.

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