MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow dethroned Fox News’ Sean Hannity last month to seize the title of most-watched cable news host.
According to figures from Forbes, The Rachel Maddow Show turned in its best-ever performance with an average of 3.058 million viewers, compared to Hannity’s 3 million.
She also beat him among those aged 25-to-54 ― the demographic advertisers most covet ― with an average viewership from that group of 671,000 compared with 616,000 for Hannity.
Those are admittedly tight margins, but given Hannity’s long streak atop the charts ― just a month earlier Forbes hailed him as “the unrivaled King of Cable News” ― it’s a significant victory for Maddow nonetheless.
Nielsen ratings provided to HuffPost vary slightly from the Forbes figures, but report the same results ― Maddow’s March viewership edged out Hannity overall and among the key demographic.
According to Adweek’s TV Newser, Maddow’s viewership numbers have been strong throughout the year’s first quarter. For the period from Jan. 1 through March 31, she pulled a larger average audience than Hannity among the 25-to 54 year-olds.
Hannity, though, had the larger overall viewership during the quarter (the Fox News audience traditionally skews older than rivals like CNN).
CNN’s top-ranked host, Anderson Cooper, ranked a distant 10th among the 25-to-54 age group, and lower still for overall viewership, according to the Adweek quarterly figures.
MSNBC has enjoyed a ratings surge of late thanks to its position as a progressive foil to President Donald Trump. Its top three primetime hosts ― Maddow, Chris Hayes, and Lawrence O’Donnell ― have collectively branded themselves “The Resistance.”
Overall, however, Fox News remains the nation’s go-to cable news network. Fox hosts owned six of the top 10 most-watched cable news programs in 2018′s first quarter, per Adweek. And the network has owned the title of most-watched for all its programs for 65 consecutive quarters since 2002.