TV Ratings: Trump Crisis Intensifying, CNN and MSNBC Again Beat Fox News

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CNN's Jake Tapper

As leaked memos have many calling for an official inquiry, the usual No. 1 news network spends a second night at No. 3.

Wall-to-wall coverage of the ongoing — and rapidly evolving — crises in the Trump White House again caused the typical cable news rankings to shift. Tuesday marked a second night at No. 3 for once-infallible Fox News Channel, as CNN snuck in for a primetime demo win over also-surging MSNBC.

CNN, which aired a Town Hall with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Ohio Gov. John Kasich moderated by Jake Tapper and Dana Bash at 10 o'clock, won the night among adults 25-54. Between 8 and 11 p.m., the network averaged 719,000 adults 25-54 — over MSNBC's 650,000 and FNC's 539,000. All three brought in incredibly robust averages, compared to usual standards, with coverage of the fallout from President Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey — among other public missteps

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow continued her winning streak among individual programs. She averaged 829,000 adults 25-54 during her 9 p.m. broadcast.

Among total viewers, MSNBC won the narrowing nightly race with 2.48 million viewers. FNC (2.38 million) and CNN (2.1 million) place a close second and third.

Coverage continues Wednesday, with late-Tuesday news of leaked memos detailing conversations between Trump and Comey. The week could technically still go to anyone at this point, but it's been a long time since a horse race of this level was taking place on cable news.

The last time FNC placed third in the demo for two consecutive days was during the 2016 Democratic National Convention, when some of its conservative base naturally tuned out. The fact that atypically negative ratings narrative comes on the heels of a major programming shift, one that saw Tucker Carlson move into Bill O'Reilly's old time slot and The Five move into primetime, further complicates matters for the network.

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