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MSNBC President Wants 'Investigation' Into Fox News' 'Impossible' Ratings Gain

Phil Griffin
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Phil Griffin

Megyn Kelly blew out Rachel Maddow in the key demo on Tuesday after losing to her the night before. "I have never seen it in all my years of cable," says Phil Griffin.

Phil Griffin, president of MSNBC, says there's something fishy about Tuesday's ratings for the Fox News Channel, which were up significantly from a day earlier when Fox News debuted its new schedule. And he wants an investigation.

"Monday we had a really good day in the key demographic. On the night that Fox News debuted their three shows, we either tied or beat them in those hours," Griffin said at a briefing, according to TVNewser.

STORY: Alec Baldwin on New MSNBC Show: 'As Long as It's Not Indecent, We Can Say Anything'

"Tuesday -- you guys should be doing some investigations; I have never seen it in all my years of cable -- same overnight, same everything. And they doubled their ratings in a day? It is impossible." Griffin continued, "I have never seen it. They did election-night numbers in the demo Tuesday."

The Nielsen numbers Griffin refers to include MSNBC beating Fox News on Monday in the adults 25-54 demographic at 7 p.m. and tying Fox News at 10 p.m.

At 9 p.m. on Monday, MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show beat Fox News' new The Kelly File, hosted by Megyn Kelly, by a slim 10,000 viewers in the key demo.

STORY: Fox News' Megyn Kelly Doubles Demo in Second Night

By Tuesday, though, Fox News was back to its dominant self, with 573,000 in the key demo compared with 261,000 for MSNBC between the hours of 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Perhaps most dramatically, Kelly's narrow loss to Rachel Maddow from a night earlier was significantly reversed, with Kelly drawing an audience of 623,000 in the key demo compared with Maddow's 291,000.

Nielsen has not yet responded to Griffin's remarks.

On Wednesday, Kelly beat Maddow 384,000 to 299,000 in the key demo, with CNN's Piers Morgan Live at 117,000. And on Thursday, Kelly beat Maddow 376,000 to 288,000, with Morgan at 157,000.

Griffin's assertion that Fox News did "election night" numbers on Tuesday may have been hyperbole, considering on Tuesday Fox News had 2.65 million in primetime and 573,000 in the key demo, while on the night of the presidential election Fox News had 7.5 million viewers with 3 million from the key demo, according the Nielsen.

E-mail: Paul.Bond@THR.com