TV Ratings: MSNBC, Maddow Scoring Huge Wins With Comey Coverage

Rachel Maddow Interview - H 2015
Courtesy of MSNBC/Charles Ommanney/ Reportage by Getty Images

MSNBC dominates its third night of primetime since Trump's FBI ouster as 'The Five' proves more of a draw than Tucker Carlson for Fox News.

The incredibly eventful couple of days in Washington, D.C., has been a boon to MSNBC. The cable news network, which has seen ratings surges for star Rachel Maddow, just won its third night of the week.

MSNBC easily topped Thursday in primetime among adults 25-54 with an average 635,000 viewers in the key news demo across the three-hour block. Maddow led all of cable news, with 734,000 demo viewers and 2.87 million viewers, but the most interesting victory might be the one Brian Williams scored in late night. His 11 p.m. show, which trailed lead-in Lawrence O'Donnell for No. 3 status in all of cable news last night, actually outperformed Fox News' Tucker Carlson by 12 percent among adults 25-54.

At the risk of sounding dramatic, such across-the-board MSNBC advantages over Fox News Channel and CNN are in the realm of unprecedented — and offer the most substantial proof to date that viewers are tuning into MSNBC for coverage of the embattled Trump administration.

The week's coverage, of course, has been dominated by the Tuesday news that President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey — a story that has seen FNC maintaining its advantages among total viewers but not in the demo, where it's used to being No. 1. MSNBC naturally reaped some Thursday halo effect from NBC News host Lester Holt's interview with Trump, but "gets" rarely move the dial in cable news that significantly.

These ratings shifts come at a time of significant flux for FNC. It's been just a few weeks since Carlson took over ousted Bill O'Reilly's 8 p.m. time slot. The early ratings victories he's had have not been as decisive as those of his predecessor, though the hour typically remains the most watched — and last week, FNC did win primetime in the demo.

The moves seem to have been better for the newly primetime The Five. Though the panel show did not top MSNBC's main three, it did outperform its lead-in. The Five averaged 535,000 adults 25-54 to Carlson's 480,000 — a number that, by the way, also put him behind Sean Hannity (494,000).