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Jen Psaki Continues Tallying Ratings Wins for MSNBC

MSNBC rewarded that success by expanding her show to Mondays at 8 PM Eastern which precedes the channel’s popular Rachel Maddow Show.

Doug Pucci

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A photo of Jen Psaki
(Photo: MSNBC)

Jen Psaki, President Biden’s first White House press secretary, officially joined MSNBC’s roster of anchors and hosts back on March 19 with Inside with Jen Psaki.

The Sunday noon time show got off to a positive start when it debuted to 1.094 million viewers including 137,000 within the key 25-54 demographic. It fell just 12,000 shy of Fox News Channel’s Fox News Live in total viewers on that day (Mar. 19), but the MSNBC show led its timeslot over FNC and CNN in adults 25-54. It was at that time news of Donald Trump’s then-pending arraignment in New York City began to surface, resulting in a ratings uplift to the left-leaning outlet overall.

Inside with Jen Psaki instantly became MSNBC’s No. 1 show on Sundays, and has remained so, despite the waning of news of Trump’s legal woes. Since its Mar. 19 launch through Nov. 26, the program has averaged 823,000 viewers and 87,000 adults 25-54, according to Nielsen Media Research. For three out of the four Sundays within the month of August (Aug. 13 the exception), Jen Psaki outdrew its time slot competition FNC’s Fox News Live in total viewers.

MSNBC rewarded that success by expanding her show to Mondays at 8 PM Eastern which precedes the channel’s popular Rachel Maddow Show. For Psaki’s Monday premiere back on Sep. 25, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was a guest.

That edition posted 1.666 million viewers including 139,000 adults 25-54; compared to the Monday prior (Sep. 18), relatively even with usual time slot occupant All In with Chris Hayes among the key demo (133,000) but rose 342,000 in total viewers (All In now only airing on MSNBC Tuesdays thru Fridays). “Inside” Monday has since remained an improvement over All In, averaging 1.46 million viewers and 143,000 adults 25-54 through Nov. 20.

On the opposite end for MSNBC, it recently axed its Sunday evening program The Mehdi Hasan Show. It lasted just 21 months on linear TV; it originally began on NBCUniversal’s streaming platform Peacock in Oct. 2020. Its most recent result was for Nov. 26: a mere 440,000 viewers and 26,000 in 25-54 — a higher total audience than CNN (335,000) in the Sunday 8 p.m. slot but far behind in the important demo (CNN, 54,000 adults 25-54).

While Hasan had enjoyed above 600,000 total viewers in each of its August editions, it still drew much less than half of its direct competitor from FNC, Life, Liberty and Levin. Returning to the example of Nov. 26 at 8 PM, FNC experienced an even larger margin of victory over its cable news competitors with Levin delivering 1.371 million viewers including 114,000 in 25-54.

Cable news averages for November 13-19, 2023:

Total Day (Nov. 13-19 @ 6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 1.229 million viewers; 149,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 0.833 million viewers; 85,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.456 million viewers; 87,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.145 million viewers; 11,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.135 million viewers; 38,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.115 million viewers; 12,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.112 million viewers; 24,000 adults 25-54
  • NewsNation: 0.074 million viewers; 13,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.074 million viewers; 19,000 adults 25-54

Prime Time (Nov. 13-18 @ 8-11 p.m.; Nov. 19 @ 7-11 p.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 1.831 million viewers; 213,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 1.241 million viewers; 115,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.509 million viewers; 110,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.201 million viewers; 16,000 adults 25-54
  • NewsNation: 0.108 million viewers; 21,000 adults 25-54

Top 10 most-watched cable news programs (and the top programs of other outlets with their respective associated ranks) in total viewers:

1. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 11/13/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.029 million viewers

2. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 11/14/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.842 million viewers

3. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 11/15/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.744 million viewers

4. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 11/16/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.680 million viewers

5. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Wed. 11/15/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.643 million viewers

6. The Five (FOXNC, Fri. 11/17/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.616 million viewers

7. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Mon. 11/13/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.565 million viewers

8. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 11/13/2023 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.543 million viewers

9. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Tue. 11/14/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.533 million viewers

10. Hannity (FOXNC, Tue. 11/14/2023 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.328 million viewers

Top 10 cable news programs (and the top  programs of other outlets with their respective associated ranks) among adults 25-54:

1. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 11/13/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.322 million adults 25-54

2. Gutfeld! (FOXNC, Fri. 11/17/2023 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.315 million adults 25-54

3. Gutfeld! (FOXNC, Tue. 11/14/2023 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.298 million adults 25-54

4. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Mon. 11/13/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.297 million adults 25-54

5. Gutfeld! (FOXNC, Mon. 11/13/2023 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.292 million adults 25-54

6. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 11/15/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.281 million adults 25-54

7. The Ingraham Angle (FOXNC, Mon. 11/13/2023 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.280 million adults 25-54

8. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Tue. 11/14/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.277 million adults 25-54

9. Hannity (FOXNC, Tue. 11/14/2023 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.270 million adults 25-54

10. Hannity (FOXNC, Mon. 11/13/2023 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.263 million adults 25-54

Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Stephen Colmar

    January 22, 2024 at 9:48 pm

    25-54 is all Fox but, nonetheless, 350,000 viewers isn’t much. Broadcast is bleeding viewers fast. Just a matter of time before CNN is live steaming on MAX and MSNBC airs on Peacock. I don’t think there will be too much a need to air distant programming, and this should help attract younger viewers.

  2. Stephen Colmar

    February 19, 2024 at 11:48 pm

    Jen Psaki will ultimately replace Chris Hayes @ 8PM. Lawrence is older, nonetheless does an excellent and smart show, is likely my second fav after Rachel; however, I could see Hayes ending up at 10PM. The 11th Hour is no longer relevant, needs a new host, and could be a great space for Jen, too.
    MSNBC has so much good talent. On election nights, it is difficult for all of them to get airtime, however, seems like Chris and Alex Wagner are most ignored

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BNM Writers

What to Do When Your Fear Your Media Career is Headed to the Graveyard

If you think about career death so much that it detracts from being in the moment, maybe it really is time to move on.

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A photo of a graveyard

“Do you guys ever think about dying?”

If you saw the Barbie movie, you know the line. Barbie is living the perfect and perfectly plastic life, perfectly choreographed and full of perfect smiles.

But the movie turns on that one line, basically shattering Barbie’s world with a concept no one there would ever have considered.

Death.

Why would you consider it when everything seemed in perfect order?

Well, when it comes to broadcasting and media, a lot of you think about dying … a lot. I do, too.

Of course, it’s not the stop breathing and get buried type of death but rather, the death of a career in media.

The truth is, when it comes to our business, very few people get to choose when it ends. Take a minute and consider a major media personality who truly “retired” after a multi-decade career.

It happens, but percentage-wise, it’s rare.

Take a minute and think. Name some. Name one. It’s not easy.

More often than not, you will get laid off or fired before you want to leave, and after a certain age, getting that next opportunity may be a bridge too far.

Then, you are done done.

That’s as much a music stopper as Barbie admitting she has considered her own mortality in the middle of the dance floor. Here on planet Earth, at least from the people in my orbit, the death of a media career often leads to even better professional options and more balanced lifestyle choices.

I have friends doing a million different things: Public relations, crisis management, content creation for large companies, political communications, fundraising, and teaching. Almost all of them tell me that it was such a stress relief to have a “normal” life, to not be worried about every pending contract or new boss.

Their work is appreciated. Their job is stable. And their schedule? Normal. Never has “normal” sounded so lovely than when they talk about watching shows with spouses, going out for a drink on a Tuesday, or having a regular pickleball game (or insert any middle-aged recreational sport).

I believe them.

Sort of.

The “sort of” comes from me not being able to actually envision that for myself. As enticing as it would be to see people on a more accessible schedule or play a weekly game with buddies, nothing beats talking and writing for a living. Nothing. And I am going to hang on until the lights are out, and we can’t pay to get them turned back on.

For me, I’m in too deep. I’m an indoor cat, incapable of survival outside.

Meetings. Deadlines. Reliant on other people. Meetings.

I’d be dead in a week. It’s beyond no, thank you. It’s, “I can’t”.

Sure, I have three teenagers and three college tuitions to pay. And two dogs. Two cars. And a mortgage.

Here’s where I am supposed to tell you that you should not only have thoughts about (career) death but also have a survival plan – a professional media-career living will if you would.

I should tell you that because you should.

But I don’t have one. And I don’t want one.

Why?

Because I don’t want to think about death anymore. I mean, I’ve already died twice. It wasn’t fun, and the third time most likely would be the charm in terms of getting me out of the business for good.

Why so stubborn? I don’t know.

Several times, I’ve said to myself, I need to make sure I have a backup plan … just in case. Each time, I find a reason not to get one.

Ultimately, what’s my point? Get a backup plan. Think about death. But it can’t take away from the essential joy of having the privilege of talking for a living. In that vein, don’t take it for granted. Ever. Even if the pay stinks and the schedule stinks. If you think about career death so much that it detracts from being in the moment, maybe it really is time to move on.

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BNM Writers

Is the Fairness Doctrine Even Possible in Today’s Media Landscape?

Is it right for media consumers to judge what is “fair” and what is “unfair” news?

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A photo of an equal scale

As many media outlets shutter their doors, some have clamored for the return of the Fairness Doctrine. Newsweek released the results of their new way to connect with readers, by asking if its reporting is “fair.” Since September 2023, readers were asked to judge stories on the site, 78% said the outlet is “fair.” Another 22% found at least one story they read to be “unfair.”

AllSides Media has judged Newsweek to be center. However, let’s not forget they are the same outlet that wrongly claimed President Donald Trump was golfing on Thanksgiving in 2019. As Sheryl Attkisson noted on Full Measure this week, on Thanksgiving in 2019 President Trump was visiting troops in Iraq and the Newsweek story was fabricated.

While the reader assessment of Newsweek’s content is on par with AllSides Media, is it right for readers to judge what is “fair” and what is “unfair” news? If outlets like The Daily Caller (Right) or Vox (Left) would ask the same of their readers, would their echo chamber subscribers find them “fair?” While historically print (and later digital) outlets could (and still can) embrace the political leanings of their owner(s), from 1949 till 1987 TV news had guidelines they must adhere to: The Fairness Doctrine.

Long before Americans argued about bias in news, every TV outlet (there were only three major ones at the time) would follow “The Fairness Doctrine.” The Reagan Library notes the doctrine was “enforced by the Federal Communications Council, [and] was rooted in the media world of 1949. Lawmakers became concerned that the monopoly audience control of the three main networks, NBC, ABC, and CBS, could misuse their broadcast licenses to set a biased public agenda.”

To put it simply, the Fairness Doctrine made it so all sides of any story were presented. In 1985, under the Reagan Administration, the FCC found “the doctrine hurt the public interest and violated free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.” Two years later, a panel under FCC Chairman Dennis Patrick repealed the Fairness Doctrine unanimously.

Keep in mind, at this point in time, CNN was the first and only 24-hour news network in the United States (it launched on June 1, 1980). Fox News wouldn’t be launched until almost 10 years after the Fairness Doctrine was repealed, on October 7, 1996.

Also happening at this time, large corporations (with lobbying power) were buying media outlets. General Electric purchased NBC in 1986. Westinghouse acquired CBS in 1995. One year later, ABC was bought by Disney. These purchases did not go unnoticed. Saturday Night Live even mocked the acquisitions in a now-banned short called “Conspiracy Theory Rock!: Media-opoly.”

The unwillingness of news organizations to cover both sides of a story has led to the creation of biased outlets including: CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, OAN, Newsmax, and others. None of these would be able to exist in their current form if the Fairness Doctrine wasn’t repealed.

News outlets that aren’t overtly biased use another trick to manipulate their viewers/readers, using emotionally charged verbiage. AllSides Media defines sensationalist words as presenting information in a way that gives a shock or makes a deep impression. This includes words like “shocking”, “heart-breaking”, “explosive”, “scathing”, “chaotic”, “desperate”, and “remarkable”… this list goes on but you’ve seen and heard these words from the news outlets daily. This is the media telling you how to react to a story instead of letting you determine how you actually feel after they present the facts of the story.

Today, what’s most concerning are outlets saying ‘fair and balanced’ news is a disservice to the public. An August 2023 NPR article explored just this, saying “Objectivity actually comes from an accurate examination of facts (actions, documentation, and even educated opinions) presented in transparent reports. Often, that coverage should also encourage audiences to examine supporting evidence for themselves.”

The problem with this is three-fold:

  • Selective fact presentation develops a one-sided narrative
  • An “educated opinion” is not a fact. It’s an opinion that is neither right nor wrong.
  • It is impossible for human beings to be completely unbiased (see January 31st column)

While it’s great Newsweek is asking readers if their reporting is ‘fair’ is the reader’s judgment neutral, or just as biased as the outlet they prefer to read? Sometimes when we are clicking to satisfy our own confirmation bias it’s hard to tell.

What the media and all Americans need to start recognizing is their own echo chamber. Knowing we all have some sort of bias is not a flaw but what makes us human. Our flaw is the inability to recognize our bias yet call out others for being biased just because they are on the other side of an issue.

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BNM Writers

CNN Sees Biggest Viewership Jump During Super Bowl Parade Shooting Coverage

All news outlets spiked upon live breaking news coverage with Fox News — already the weekday afternoon leader in cable news — leading in total viewers.

Doug Pucci

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A photo of the CNN logo
(Photo: Getty Images)

The cable news outlets got increased viewership from two different news events during the week of Feb. 12, namely the shooting at the Super Bowl parade in Kansas City.

On Wednesday, Feb. 14, of the mass shooting at the Super Bowl celebration parade in Kansas City for the Chiefs football team. One person died and roughly two dozen others were injured.

All news outlets spiked upon live breaking news coverage with Fox News — already the weekday afternoon leader in cable news — leading in total viewers.

The following are what each network drew as the story unfolded on that Feb. 14 afternoon from Kansas City and how it grew from the same Wednesday time slots from Jan. 3 thru Feb. 7:

Fox News Channel

  • 3-4 p.m.: 1.656 million viewers (+18 percent)
  • 4-5 p.m.: 1.873 million viewers (+34 percent)
  • 5-6 p.m.: 3.175 million viewers (+7 percent)
  • 6-7 p.m.: 2.441 million viewers (+12 percent)
  • 7-8 p.m.: 2.250 million viewers (+4 percent)

MSNBC

  • 3-4 p.m.: 1.008 million viewers (+10 percent)
  • 4-6 p.m.: 1.504 million viewers (+7 percent)
  • 6-7 p.m.: 1.763 million viewers (+17 percent)
  • 7-8 p.m.: 1.474 million viewers (+13 percent)

CNN

  • 3-4 p.m.: 0.762 million viewers (+27 percent)
  • 4-5 p.m.: 0.913 million viewers (+35 percent)
  • 5-6 p.m.: 1.007 million viewers (+28 percent)
  • 6-7 p.m.: 0.985 million viewers (+43 percent)
  • 7-8 p.m.: 0.960 million viewers (+29 percent)

Newsmax

  • 4-5 p.m.: 0.343 million viewers (+23 percent)
  • 5-6 p.m.: 0.354 million viewers (+16 percent)
  • 7-8 p.m.: 0.547 million viewers (+13 percent)

Earlier in the week, on Tuesday, Feb. 13, the results were announced for the special election race for New York’s third congressional district between its former representative Democrat Tom Suozzi and Republican challenger Mazi Pilip. Suozzi left office in 2022 to run in the New York gubernatorial election but lost out to incumbent Kathy Hochul. Suozzi’s successor in Congress was the infamous George Santos who was officially expelled from office on Dec. 1, 2023 over charges of federal criminal laws including campaign finance fraud.

MSNBC and CNN were the only major national news outlets that provided live coverage of the special election results, stressing the significance of Suozzi’s eight-point win over Pilip as it reduced the GOP’s advantage in the House of Representatives by one.

From when the voting polls closed in New York at 9 p.m. ET, MSNBC easily topped CNN in total viewers at 9 p.m. (1.616 million viewers vs. CNN’s 0.847 million), 10 p.m. (1.903 million vs. CNN’s 0.879 million), 11 p.m. (1.112 million vs. CNN’s 0.541 million), and at midnight (774,000 viewers vs. CNN’s 299,000).

From 9-11 p.m. ET, though, both MSNBC and CNN scored the same performance among the key 25-54 demographic: a 0.15 rating at 9 p.m. and a 0.18 rating at 10 p.m. (Note: a 1.0 rating in 25-54 equates to 1.21 million viewers within the aforementioned age range.) 

For the 10-11 p.m. hour, when the New York candidate speeches had aired, CNN grew by 68 percent (in viewers) and by 80 percent (in 25-54) from its Tuesday 10-11 p.m. hour output from Jan. 2 thru Feb. 6 — a time period that included a Ron DeSantis town hall and New Hampshire primary results.

MSNBC was up as well at 10 p.m. hour — +16 percent in viewers, +33 percent in the 25-54 demo — using the same reference parameters.

Even though Fox News did not offer live coverage of New York’s special election results, Hannity at 9 p.m. (2.528 million viewers; 0.21 A25-54 demo rating) and Gutfeld! at 10 p. m. (2.357 million viewers; 0.31 A25-54 demo rating) still held the top spots in their respective hours on all of cable news.

Source: Nielsen Media Research

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