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TV Ratings: Five Months In, MNSBC's Chris Hayes Hits New Highs

The cable network's 8 p.m. hour gives a strong showing, besting CNN with the help of a boosted lead-in from a slightly rejiggered Chris Matthews.

Chris Hayes Portrait - P 2013
MSNBC
"All In With Chris Hayes"

As MSNBC continues to tinker with its evening lineup, there is good news for Chris Hayes. The host's 5-month-old nightly broadcast, which didn't exactly leap out of the gate, hit ratings highs last week.

Nielsen returns have All In With Chris Hayes posting its best averages yet among total viewers and adults 25-54 -- excluding the breaking news boost from the Boston Marathon bombings (April 15). For the week of Aug. 26, and compared to the week prior, Hayes was up 71 percent to 224,000 viewers in the cable news network's targeted demographic and up 47 percent among total viewers with a nightly average of 772,000.

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All In heavily covered Syria and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington throughout the week and featured Newark, N.J., mayor and Senate candidate Cory Booker during Thursday's episode. The 8 p.m. show outperformed CNN competition in Anderson Cooper 360 (577,000 viewers, 170 adults 25-54) on all five nights -- though it still lagged behind cable news' reigning ratings champ, Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly. The pundit was up himself, averaging 2.56 million viewers and 430,000 adults 25-54 to hold on to his status as the top broadcast of the week.

Last week was the first of a tinkered MSNBC schedule. The network, which reclaimed its primetime ratings runner-up status in August after falling behind CNN earlier this year, brought former 8 p.m. occupant The Ed Show back to weekdays at 5 p.m. Hardball With Chris Matthews also started airing exclusively at 7 p.m. in an effort to condense the host's audience. (He previously aired at both 5 and 7 p.m.)

And Chris Matthews' audience certainly helped Hayes. The MSNBC veteran saw his own ratings rise to highs not seen since the week of the Boston attack, with the new one-off 7 p.m. episodes averaging 737,000 viewers and 188,000 adults 25-54 -- up 51 percent from his August average.