In March, The Rachel Maddow Show finished as the highest-rated show in cable news, with an average total audience of 3.058 million viewers–the show’s best-ever performance in the 9 p.m. ET hour. FNC’s Hannity was second, with 3.000 million viewers. Maddow also won among viewers 25-54, the demographic most valued by advertisers, finishing March with an average audience of 671,000 compared to Hannity’s 616,000. CNN finished a distant third in the hour, with 382,000 viewers 25-54.
MSNBC has been experiencing a dramatic rise in ratings, finishing the first quarter of 2018 as the only cable news network to grow compared to Q1 2017: MSNBC ratings were up 30%, while both Fox News and CNN experienced declines.
In March, MSNBC’s programming in prime time, daytime and total day all broke records for the network. The network’s prime-time lineup averaged 2.398 million total viewers, finishing as the No. 2 network across all of cable TV. While Fox News continued its run as the top-rated network in cable news, MSNBC’s prime lineup was up 8% from 2017, while both Fox (down 18 percent) and CNN (down 16 percent) were off year-over-year.
The March ratings results suggest Fox News’ unrivaled status as the dominant force in cable news may be facing one of the strongest challenges in years.