Rachel Maddow crushes Fox News in August; CNN gaining fast

Maddow for the win…

Rachel Maddow has just accomplished what many said could never happen – she beat out Fox News in prime time.

Not only did Maddow unseat Fox News as the prime time big dog during the month of August, she also took the number one spot during the previous month.

As reported by Mark Joyella of Forbes magazine, the once all-powerful Fox News isn’t the news powerhouse it once was;

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow had the most-watched show in cable news in August, ending the month with 2.783 million total viewers, according to data released by Nielsen Media Research. It was Maddow’s second month in a row as No. 1.

Maddow narrowly beat Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity, who had 2.679 million total viewers. The remaining shows in the top five for the month were Fox News’ Tucker Carlson (2.483 million), MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell (2.352 million) and Fox News’ The Five (2.351 million). Maddow was also first among adults 25-54, the critical demographic to advertisers.

However, while MSNBC’s Maddow and O’Donnell are giving Fox a run for their money both during prime time as well as among the big bucks demographic, Fox News is still the cock of the walk during the entire 24-hour news cycle

As a matter of fact, Fox News has dominated the totality of the news cycle for the past 188 months straight;

While Maddow and O’Donnell were among the best performers in prime time, MSNBC still trailed Fox News Channel. FNC averaged 2.2 million viewers in prime time, putting Fox in first place among all cable networks in prime for the month. The networks dissect the ratings data in myriad ways, but Fox has plenty to tout, including a 14-month streak as the top-rated cable network based on total day ratings and 188 straight months at No. 1 in cable news (total day and prime).

Among slightly younger viewers, adults 18-49, MSNBC was No. 1 in prime for the month.

In what may be a bit of a warning whistle to the honchos at Fox, Forbes is also reporting that the CNN boys in Atlanta is gaining ground… and quickly;

In prime, MSNBC trailed Fox with 1.835 million total viewers, an increase of 63% from the same period a year ago. CNN had 1.194 million viewers (up 41%). In the key advertiser demo, the race for number one was tight, with FNC first in prime time (466,000), CNN took second place (418,000) and MSNBC was close behind at 410,000. All of the networks saw their audiences rise in the demo compared to a year ago, with MSNBC (up 55%) and CNN (up 54%) more than doubling Fox News’ increase (up 25%).

As far as many long time viewers of Fox News are concerned, their favorite news channel is changing, and certainly not for the better.

Possibly the proof in the pudding is a report by Vanity Fair from earlier this summer noting that on the heels of the death of the founder of Fox News, Roger Ailes, the “reformist generation” has monkeyed around with the winning recipe, but achieving less than desired results;

Without Roger Ailes at the helm, Fox News seems to be suffering a prolonged identity crisis. Prime-time star Bill O’Reilly was fired in April; up-and-comer Megyn Kelly departed for greener pastures at NBC; and executive leadership has undergone a rapid succession of changes as the network’s old guard, represented by Rupert Murdoch, clashes with a younger, reformist generation led by Murdoch’s sons, James and Lachlan.

One part of that transformation, evidently, is changing Fox News’s mantra. New York’s Gabriel Sherman reported Wednesday that Fox News is dropping the marketing slogan “Fair & Balanced,” the much-ridiculed, mostly aspirational tagline for a network whose morning and prime-time lineups are markedly conservative. Fox News has also used “We Report, You Decide” and “The Most Powerful Name in News” in recent years. But while Ailes oversaw the news division, “Fair & Balanced” represented the kind of right-leaning coverage the network specialized in—allowing conservative voices to thrive alongside liberal foils who mostly served as punching bags.

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