Ratings: Piers Morgan And Howard Stern Beat Hannity And Maddow In Demo

The second night of Piers Morgan Tonight brought its host for the first time into his new set, and face-to-face with the King of All Media Howard Stern. Ahead of the interview’s airing Tuesday night, Piers Morgan took to Twitter to tweak his competitor at Fox News, Sean Hannity: “Msg to @seanhannity – if I don’t smack you down tonight with Howard, I’ll take you on Thursday with Ricky Gervais. love Piers x.”

Was it a smackdown? According to ratings information just released by Nielsen, PMT was number one in its timeslot among the advertiser-coveted demographic of viewers 25-54, with 551,000. Fox’s Hannity was second, with 506,000 and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow placed third, with 265,000.

The win is a huge victory for CNN, which has been solidly in third place, and a rare defeat for Fox. Fox, it should be noted, did win among total viewers, 2.183 million viewers to Piers Morgan Tonight‘s 1.273 million. Maddow was third with 1.126 million.

In its debut on Monday, with Oprah Winfrey, PMT attracted 2 million total viewers–easily beating MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, but falling short of Fox’s Hannity, with an even more newsworthy guest, Sarah Palin.

Ratings tonight may give an idea of how Morgan’s performance will shape up over the long term, with a somewhat less headline-grabbing guest, Condoleeza Rice.

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