- NEW YORK (AP)
When there’s a blowout in the normally tight race for cable news supremacy between Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow, it’s best to check the political headlines to learn why.
Hannity crushed MSNBC’s Maddow last week, with the Fox News Channel personality averaging 3.78 million viewers, the Nielsen company said. Maddow had 2.46 million viewers last week. It was her least-watched week of the year, and it represented the biggest gap between the two since last October.
The big story last week was Attorney General William Barr’s summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, a positive development for supporters of President Donald Trump. Hannity’s a big fan of Trump, of course, and featured a long interview with him on Wednesday’s show.
The last time he had a margin this big over Maddow was the week last October that Trump appointee Brett Kavanaugh was approved for the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, Hannity slumped in the aftermath of the 2018 midterms, dominated by the Democrats. His average viewership for the month after the election was 1 million less than he had last week.
Hannity’s audience last week was up 24% from his average for the first three months of the year, Nielsen said. Other Fox News primetime personalities did the same: Tucker Carlson was up 18% and Laura Ingraham up 25%.
Maddow’s audience was down 21% from what has been typical for her this year. The full MSNBC and CNN primetime lineups slumped last week, with both Anderson Cooper and Chris Cuomo down 36% from the year’s average, Nielsen said.
CBS easily won the week in primetime, averaging 6.6 million viewers. NBC had 4.7 million viewers, ABC had 4.4 million, Fox had 2.5 million, Univision had 1.4 million, ION Television had 1.3 million, Telemundo had 1.1 million and the CW had 770,000.
TBS was the week’s most popular cable network, courtesy of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, averaging 3.57 million viewers. Fox News Channel had 2.83 million, MSNBC had 1.49 million, HGTV had 1.23 million and History had 1.2 million.
ABC’s “World News Tonight” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.1 million viewers. NBC’s “Nightly News” had 7.7 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 5.4 million viewers.
Below are primetime viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen for March 25-31. Listings include the week’s ranking and viewership.
1. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 12.59 million.
2. “NCIS,” CBS, 12.19 million.
3. NCAA Men’s Basketball Tourney: Purdue vs. Virginia, TBS, 10.49 million.
4. NCAA Men’s Basketball Tourney: Virginia Tech vs. Duke, CBS, 10.07 million.
5. “FBI,” CBS, 9.13 million.
6. “The Voice,” NBC, 9.01 million.
7. “College Basketball Studio Show,” TBS, 8.83 million.
8. “Chicago Fire,” NBC, 8.28 million.
9. “God Friended Me,” CBS, 8.16 million.
10. “Survivor,” CBS, 7.76 million.
11. NCAA Men’s Basketball Tourney: Texas Tech vs. Gonzaga, TBS, 7.72 million.
12. “This is Us,” NBC, 7.64 million.
13. “NCIS: Los Angeles,” CBS, 7.5 million.
14. “NCAA Post-Game Show,” TBS, 7.41 million.
15. “Grey’s Anatomy,” ABC, 7.38 million.
16. “American Idol” (Sunday), ABC, 7.28 million.
17. “NCIS: New Orleans,” CBS, 7.19 million.
18. “Chicago PD,” NBC, 7.02 million.
19. NCAA Men’s Basketball Tourney: Florida St. vs. Gonzaga, CBS, 6.5 million.
20. “American Idol” (Monday), ABC, 6.45 million.
ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co.; CBS is a division of CBS Corp.; Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox; NBC is owned by NBC Universal.