MSNBC beats Fox News and CNN in ratings for the first time

Fox News sign in studio

Andy Kropa Contributor Getty Images

Fox News typically dominates cable news competition but MSNBC was the No. 2 most-watched network in all of basic cable for prime from May 15-19, behind only behind TNT's NBA-playoff heavy schedule.

Last week was only the second time ever MSNBC has won weekday prime in total viewers.

With that audience, for the same week, MSNBC averaged about 611,000; CNN drew 589,000 and Fox News trailed with 497,000 - as Fox historically draws much older viewers who are considered less desirable to Madison Avenue executives.

Last Monday, primetime Fox News hosts like Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity largely ignored a report on Trump's revelation to Russian officials. It was the first time that Fox News fell to third in that count in 17 years.

All three networks are up significantly from the same period a year ago - and even with its string of nights at No. 3, FNC is still winning the month of May in both primetime and total day. CNN finished second in the demo with 588,000. The CNN series ranking first with the age group are "The Lead With Jake Tapper", "The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer", "Outfront With Erin Burnett" and "Anderson Cooper 360". (That's in the demo and total viewers.) But with CNN and MSNBC on its heels in different dayparts, this last week will prove to be make-or-break for all parties.

"The Rachel Maddow Show", "Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell" and "The 11th Hour" all beat cable news competitors in their respective time slots among total viewers, while Maddow and O'Donnell also beat Fox News and CNN among the demo.

Among the clear winners was MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, whose "Rachel Maddow Show" finished first in two time slots for the week: 8 p.m. CT, during which it airs live every weeknight; and again at 11 p.m. CT, during its nightly rebroadcast.

"The Trump haters are going over to MSNBC, and there's a lot of them, a lot of Trump haters", O'Reilly said.

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