February Ratings: MSNBC Wins Overall For First Time in History, CNN Scores in Demo, Fox News Wins Prime Time


MSNBC was most-watched across all of cable in total day viewers in February, an historic win for the network in the first month with new president Rashida Jones at the helm. Fox News won prime time for the month, while CNN was the most-watched among the valuable demographic of viewers age 25-54 for the fourth month in a row.

In total day viewers, MSNBC averaged 1.36 million, and 206,000 in the key demo, according to data from Nielsen. This is the first time ever that the network has taken the top spot in total day, and in an internal note obtained by Mediaite, Jones thanked staffers, saying she was “proud of our coverage the past few weeks” – perhaps a nod to the fact that MSNBC was most-watched during the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump – and thanking them for their “excellent journalism and dedication to reporting these important stories”.

Fox was second most-watched overall in total day in February, averaging 1.32 million total viewers, and was second in the demo, with 210,000.

CNN averaged the fewest total day viewers in February, with 1.19 million total viewers, but dominated in the demo, averaging 281,000 viewers.

In prime time, Fox won the month, averaging 2.47 million total viewers from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., and was second in the demo, with 365,000. MSNBC was second overall, with 2.19 million total viewers, and 340,000 in the demo. Once again, CNN was third in total viewers, averaging 1.69 million total viewers, but again beat the competition in the demo, with 411,000 viewers age 25-54.

Compared to February 2020, both CNN and MSNBC were up in total and demo viewers in both prime time and total day. CNN saw the most growth across the board, with a 61% increase in total prime time viewers, and 39% growth in the demo in prime time; in total day, CNN saw a 76% increase in total viewers, and a 64% increase in the demo. MSNBC was up 23% overall in prime time and 7% in the demo, and saw a 37% increase overall and 31% increase in the demo in total day. Meanwhile, Fox was down 30% in total prime time viewers, and 38% in the demo, and saw decreases of 32% overall and 38% in the demo in total day.

Notably, Fox’s Saturday prime time dominated the competition, with the lineup of Watters’ World, Justice with Jeanine, and The Greg Gutfeld Show winning more viewers than MSNBC’s and CNN’s Saturday prime time lineups combined.

MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show was the most-watched regularly-scheduled show in all of cable in February, in both total viewers and the demo, averaging 3.54 million total viewers and 567,000 in the demo. MSNBC also had the fifth most-watched show, with The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell averaging 2.55 million total viewers and 376,000 in the demo.

Fox had three of the five most-watched shows in February, with Tucker Carlson Tonight, Hannity, and The Five ranking as second, third, and fourth. Carlson averaged 3.39 million total viewers, and 515,000 in the demo, while Hannity averaged 2.94 million total viewers and 435,000 in the demo, and The Five averaged 2.85 million total viewers and 370,000 in the demo.

CNN had two shows in the five most-watched among viewers in the demo. While Maddow took first, Carlson took second, and Hannity took fifth, Anderson Cooper 360 was the third most-watched among A25-54 viewers, with 480,000 (1.93 million total), and Cuomo Prime Time was fourth, with 466,000 viewers in the demo (1.92 million total).

Morning Joe continued its winning streak in the early mornings, winning in both total viewers (1.36 million) and in the demo (209,000) for the third month in a row. Fox and Friends took second in total viewers, with 1.1 million total viewers, and also in the demo, with 188,000. CNN’s New Day averaged 714,000 total viewers and 172,000 in the demo.

Have a tip we should know? tips@mediaite.com

Filed Under: