Bill O’Reilly #1, Glenn Beck #2 Monday In Both Categories

Cable news ratings, February 22, 2010: Check out the highlights, and see the full ratings below:

Bill O’Reilly was the top-rated cable news host Monday in both total viewers and the A25-54 demographic. Glenn Beck was #2, followed by Sean Hannity at #3.

• CNN completed started the week as the #5 cable news channel in the prime time demo, making it all five nights last week it finished in fifth place as well as the beginning of this week.

>Update: An earlier version of this story said these ratings were for Friday February 19. They were actually for Monday February 22.

Check out all the ratings below, and leave your own thoughts in the comments:

TV NEWS RATINGS: 25-54 DEMOGRAPHIC (L +SD)
Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm Beck

669

Blitzer

102

Matthews

113

Prime

44

6 pm Baier

471

Blitzer

115

Ed Show

107

Prime

47

7 pm Shep

448

Blitzer

98

Matthews

120

Issues

144

8 pm O’Reilly

883

Brown

103

Olbermann

237

Grace

296

9 pm Hannity

590

King

114

Maddow

240

Behar

135

10 pm Greta

528

Cooper

140

Olbermann

149

Grace

196

11 pm O’Reilly

405

Cooper

118

Maddow

108

Showbiz

131

TOTAL DAY 384 95 103 146
PRIME TIME 668 119 209 204
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.
TV NEWS RATINGS: TOTAL VIEWERS (L +SD)
Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm Beck

2725

Blitzer

511

Matthews

519

Prime

144

6 pm Baier

2445

Blitzer

509

Ed Show

497

Prime

115

7 pm Shep

1923

Blitzer

462

Matthews

587

Issues

333

8 pm O’Reilly

3526

Brown

419

Olbermann

975

Grace

835

9 pm Hannity

2115

King

409

Maddow

957

Behar

568

10 pm Greta

1723

Cooper

410

Olbermann

494

Grace

436

11 pm O’Reilly

1198

Cooper

280

Maddow

333

Showbiz

245

TOTAL DAY 1516 405 402 314
PRIME TIME 2458 413 809 597
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.


Soundbite: ‘Depth Of Her Wit Is What Makes Rachel Maddow Special’

Rachel Maddow’s continuing emergence as the educated grown-up at the cable news talking head dinner table is not going unnoticed. Over at the Daily News today, critic Stanley Crouch is commending (in fairly strong terms, actually) both Maddow’s wit and her intelligence:

Her statements almost always come from the same place – somewhere between the respectable left and those who intellectually live on the left side of the moon, but the depth of her wit is what makes Maddow special. It can slide from the intelligent dig to the devastating sendup.

Having grown up during the civil rights movement and become used to the inevitable presence at marches and demonstrations of Stalinists, Trotskyites and the other regular menagerie members of the left, I never met anyone like Maddow. Those old-time leftists were inevitably humorless and were always trying to gain influence among the leaders and the troops of the most impressive nonviolent revolution in the history of the species.

What makes Maddow unique is that while she surely seeks influence, she prefers it on terms that are her own, deeply informed and saturated with a sense of fun.

That is some pretty high praise indeed. Now just imagine how great she’d be as the host of Meet the Press. Just saying.


MSNBC’s USA-Canada Hockey Ratings Pretty Much News Network’s Best Ever

We knew the USA-Canada hockey game would deliver big ratings for MSNBC – but it was only a matter of how big.

Last night’s game average 8.22 million total viewers last night, which made it just slightly the 2nd highest rated program of all time. But it also kind of won.

From the NBC Sports release:

8.2 MILLION AVERAGE VIEWERSHIP FOR WATCH USA-CANADA HOCKEY GAME ON MSNBC: An average audience of 8.22 million watched the USA hockey team defeat Canada, 5-3, nearly matching the best average viewership for a program on MSNBC. (Election Night Coverage, 8.23 million on Nov. 4, 2008).

The hockey game on MSNBC received a national household rating of 4.3, the third highest-rated program in MSNBC’s history behind the Democratic Presidential debate (2/26/08, 4.9 rating) and the analysis following the debate (4.4 rating).

Well it definitely didn’t win households – but the 10,000 total viewer difference is so close, it begs a second look. No hour on Election Night 2008 reached as high as 8.23 million total viewers. So where did NBC Sports get the number from?

That average comes from when MSNBC peaked – which was just for Sen. John McCain’s concession speech during the 11pmET hour. It’s a stretch – but yes, at some point, some event reached a higher average than the great hockey game that aired on MSNBC and not NBC. But USA-Canada could make a case for the gold too.

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» Follow Steve Krakauer on Twitter


Hockey on MSNBC Was the Right Call

Ryan Kesler (L) celebrates with Zach Parise after his empty net goal ices the game for Team USA in the last minute. Image via AP

Last night, after Team USA’s nailbiting victory over the heavily favored Canadians in men’s hockey, fellow Mediaite writer Anthony DeRosa called it “the greatest hockey game you never saw.” Yet I think he overstates his point. For a game “no one saw,” why were topics like “Ryan Miller,” “MSNBC” and “GO USA” trending?

As exciting as this game was — and trust me, as an American college and pro hockey fan, I could not have asked for more in the upset — from a media planning standpoint, it always belonged on the cable channel. While some joked of conspiracy theories related to carrier coverage of MSNBC’s new HD channel, more level-headed minds note that there was a very good strategy behind the placement of it.

First: this was not a game with severe implications on the Olympic tournament. Claim the rivalry all you want, but in the round robin stage, not very much was at stake. Additionally, as exciting as the young American squad has been in their first games, they really were heavy underdogs. The audience for the game would be there, but it would be the fanatics, not the greater interest. This was not supposed to be a close game — and it could very well be forgotten if there is a rematch in the medal round.

Second: the sliver of American hockey fans is still a niche demographic, likely heavily male and cut across a wide age group. Compare that to the audience that likely is watching TV on Sundays; with normal programming winners like Desperate Housewives, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and the Amazing Race, the audience that advertisers who buy for those times want to gain is from those broader groups that include more household buyers. Ice Dancing and Bobsled bring that, a fast-paced hockey game may force viewers elsewhere. Plus, tape delay likely doesn’t harm those events, so commercial time is still ample to hand out to advertisers.

Third: Due to factors ranging from the digital cable mandate to comparative cost and access, cable households were by far the norm by the end of the last decade. In the sports world, the cable standard was pretty much solidified when ABC moved Monday Night Football to cable’s ESPN for the start of the 2006 season. There were some complaints of areas or providers without HD access (as noted by the Television by the Numbers post linked above — and a valid one because hockey may benefit from HD more than any other sport given the size of the puck and speed of the game), but cable still gave the opportunity for no commercial breaks and a broadcast live on both coasts. In a game that intense, it made a difference, and we held our collective breath (apparently along with Bill Simmons’s father). On network, the game would have (a) been broken up more by commercials and (b) likely been delayed on the west coast. Given how those topics were trending and how mainstream outlets like ESPN.com publicized the score as it happened, even the most vigilant fan would have certainly stumbled on a spoiler.

That actually seems like a well-thought out plan for the MSNBC broadcast – but the final ratings will also show if there was an actual impact on the audience. I have a gut feeling, waiting for the numbers, that NBC’s primetime still won the evening over other broadcasts, but at a closer clip to its competition than Saturday. Dan Fogarty noted last night that MSNBC could not have asked for more, and it’s safe for both of us to guess that tremendously tremendous numbers on the cable news channel are also very likely, so we’ll have to try and guess where the audience came from — my guess is non-Olympic stations like ESPN.

NBC is getting painted into every lose-lose situation possible over the last week. Look at last night as the win that it actually was – a live, unfiltered display of one of the most memorable hockey games of the last 30 years. If the US meets Canada again in the medal round, you better believe we’ll tune in no matter what channel.

Disclosure: GE, NBC’s owner, is a client of my employer; however, opinions contained within this piece are my own.

Dave Levy spends most of his day working on Edelman’s Digital Public Affairs team in Washington, DC. A media researcher on the side and a self-proclaimed geek, he blogs often about how traditional media adapts – or tries to adapt – to the growing social media world atState of the Fourth Estate.

Follow Dave on Twitter here.


Tremendously Tremendous: The Greatest Hockey Game You Never Saw

While NBC was airing Ice Dancing, their sister network MSNBC was airing one of the most exciting hockey games in recent history. It didn’t take a genius to figure the matching of the home host Canadian team taking on a surging USA team would be a compelling match-up. NBC realized the error of their ways, cutting off the two-man bobsled to capture the final moments of the match, but by then they already missed a golden opportunity.

Throughout the game, twitter was flooded with viewers buzzing about the match, so much so that “NBC” and MSNBC were trending topics, mainly based around people calling out the network for not airing the event on their main network, along with “Ryan Miller,” the USA goalie and “Team USA.”

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that the network who decked Conan O’Brien in favor of putting a well past his prime Jay Leno back in his old time slot would make such a colossal programming blunder. The network has enjoyed record ratings thus far, but the lack of live events have frustrated viewers. In the age of the internet, you would virtually need to shut off your digital life in order to prevent yourself from finding out the results of what NBC decides to air hours later, in prime time. Twitter becomes a spoiler landmine and many found out too late to turn off their New York Times breaking news email alerts.

Here NBC had an a chance to capture an audience that would follow this USA hockey team to the medal rounds, and all in real-time. Instead, they committed a crime of poor programming, enough to throw them in the same MSNBC Lock-up that normally airs weekend evenings and was preempted in favor of men’s hockey.



Anthony De Rosa is a veteran blogger who has been developing and providing consulting for new media since 1996. He posts his opinions on a variety of topics, social media and politics in particular, at soupsoup.tumblr.com.


USA-Canada Hockey Delivers The Goods…On MSNBC

I have a terrible, terrible secret: I think I might be a hockey fan. And after tonight’s goosebumps-inducing USA/Canada hockey game, I don’t think I’m alone. In a game marked by a break-neck pace and a final two minutes that was full of “most exciting sports moment of 2010″ candidates, the U.S. hockey team emerged victorious over Canada 5-3. But why was it on MSNBC?

Hopefully not because NBC thought more people wanted to watch Ice Dancing or tape-delayed skiing. TVByTheNumbers thinks it’s because NBC didn’t want to constantly break away from the action.

Smart move: this game was tailor-made for the ADD-addled sports fan, and is a shot in the arm for a game that’s the ugly step sister in the family of major American sports. Constant breakaways, tons of shots on goal, and a final two minutes where Canada had multiple chances to tie things up were the things that most people will remember about tonight. This may have been the most exciting sporting event of the year so far (keep in mind, the Super Bowl was a few weeks ago).

The game was so exciting, in fact, that TV announcer Mike Emrick Ed Olczyk (who did a great job of matching the excitement of the game note-for-note) referred to it as “tremendously tremendous.”

If you missed the game, check out our clip below: it’s incredibly incredible.


Maddow’s CPAC Visit Gets Her Top Non-FNC Show Thursday

Cable news ratings, February 18, 2010: Check out the highlights, and see the full ratings below:

Rachel Maddow visited CPAC Thursday, and her 9pmET MSNBC program, which was based largely around her experience, was the top non-FNC show in total viewers and the A25-54 demographic. The top show overall was, again, Bill O’Reilly’s.

• Will CNN go the entire week as the fifth ranked cable news network in the demo during prime time, behind even CNBC? It was night #4 Thursday night – and in total viewers as well. For the first time all week, Larry King’s show, featuring a Floyd Landis exclusive, was the lowest in the demo.

Check out all the ratings below, and leave your own thoughts in the comments:

TV NEWS RATINGS: 25-54 DEMOGRAPHIC (L +SD)
Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm

Beck

608

Blitzer

189

Matthews

85

Prime

65

6 pm

Baier

544

Blitzer

181

OLYMPICS

*

Prime

100

7 pm

Shep

532

Blitzer

173

OLYMPICS

*

Issues

162

8 pm

O’Reilly

732

Brown

126

Olbermann

266

Grace

228

9 pm

Hannity

566

King

120

Maddow

277

Behar

140

10 pm

Greta

399

Cooper

154

Olbermann

155

Grace

217

11 pm

O’Reilly

268

Cooper

132

Maddow

75

Showbiz

140

TOTAL DAY 383 151 127 165
PRIME TIME 565 133 233 192
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.
TV NEWS RATINGS: TOTAL VIEWERS (L +SD)
Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm

Beck

2524

Blitzer

766

Matthews

436

Prime

265

6 pm

Baier

2342

Blitzer

679

OLYMPICS

*

Prime

283

7 pm

Shep

2176

Blitzer

680

OLYMPICS

*

Issues

408

8 pm

O’Reilly

3074

Brown

560

Olbermann

901

Grace

778

9 pm

Hannity

2168

King

592

Maddow

916

Behar

570

10 pm

Greta

1564

Cooper

576

Olbermann

503

Grace

472

11 pm

O’Reilly

1033

Cooper

329

Maddow

267

Showbiz

307

TOTAL DAY 1550 545 425 349
PRIME TIME 2269 576 773 594
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.