Rachel Maddow Pulls Ahead of Bill O'Reilly as MSNBC Wins Demo in Primetime

"The Rachel Maddow Show"
Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Maddow's best ratings came during the 2008 presidential election, and MSNBC execs are banking 2012 will produce a similar lift.

As the election nears, there's some interesting movement in primetime cable news ratings -- with the scales, at least on Tuesday night, tipping in Rachel Maddow's favor.  

MSNBC, which regularly finishes in a distant second to the dominant Fox News Channel, actually bested the network in the coveted adults 25-54 demographic for two nights in a row.

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Monday, between 8 and 11 p.m., MSNBC averaged 471,000 viewers 25-54 over FNC's 469,000. On Tuesday, it grew its margin of victory by almost 50,000, pulling in 575,000 adults 25-54 over FNC's 526,000.

The big winner, however, is Rachel Maddow. Airing the hour after perennial winner Bill O'Reilly's publicized appearance from Jon Stewart, MSNBC's Maddow managed to best him in the demo. The Rachel Maddow Show (9 p.m.) topped The O'Reilly Factor (8 p.m.) with 703,000 viewers 25-54 over 682,000.

In total viewers, O'Reilly and FNC maintained their healthy advantage. Tuesday's Factor brought in 3.35 million over Maddow's 2.04 million. And for the entire primetime block, FNC posted 2.49 million viewers in primetime over MSNBC's 1.79 million.