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 prime-time 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 prime-time 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 prime-time, 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.
For the week of March 25-31, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: “60 Minutes,” CBS, 12.59 million; “NCIS,” CBS, 12.19 million; NCAA Men’s Basketball Tourney: Purdue vs. Virginia, TBS, 10.49 million; NCAA Men’s Basketball Tourney: Virginia Tech vs. Duke, CBS, 10.07 million; “FBI,” CBS, 9.13 million; “The Voice,” NBC, 9.01 million; “College Basketball Studio Show,” TBS, 8.83 million; “Chicago Fire,” NBC, 8.28 million; “God Friended Me,” CBS, 8.16 million; “Survivor,” CBS, 7.76 million.
ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.