MSNBC stumbled out of the gate this year as it slipped to third place behind CNN in the January primetime ratings.
CNN was able to ride the wave of the two GOP presidential debates they sponsored, along with their coverage of the State of the Union speech, to overtake MSNBC last month.
Even though CNN was able to take advantage of the strong news cycle, in which they normally tend to excel ratings-wise, they also showed significant growth in ratings for “AC360” compared to last year.
In the 8 p.m. hour, the program was up 20% in total viewers and 42% in the key A25-54 demo. The improvement was made easier since at the same time last year, CNN was airing the moribund “Parker-Spitzer” program. In the 10 p.m. hour “AC360” was up 28% in total viewers and a whopping 61% in the A25-54 demo, taking a significant bite out of MSNBC.
MSNBC, which saw Keith Olbermann leave in January of last year, replaced his show with Lawrence O’Donnell and more recently Ed Schultz, but couldn’t stanch the loss in viewers as the network’s ratings in the 8 p.m. hour lost 12% in total viewers and 29% in the demo.
Even Rachel Maddow saw some slippage, of 2% in total viewers and 8% in the demo.
That might explain why recent contestants on Jeopardy! failed to recognize her picture when it came up during the show.