Rebecca Takes on the Cable News, Week of December 11: Alabama Senate Election Helps Primetime Make Big Gains

It's time for Week 3 of Rebecca Takes on the Cable News! This was a great week for cable news, as they had plenty of material with the conclusion of the Alabama special Senate election, and coverage of Democrat Doug Jones' surprising victory. Tuesday was by far the best day for cable. But how good was it? Stay tuned to find out!

This week was very kind to MSNBC's Primetime lineup, but their earlier programming didn't see the same gains. The Last Word had the most impressive gains (likely helped by airing at the time the race was called), up 24% and taking third overall after a fourth place finish last week. All In fell in the ranks to eighth place, but it still made gains of nearly 23%. The Rachel Meadow Show was only up 2.2% and lost its first place position, but its 0.37 still an impressive number and is the highest its records thus far. Velshi & Ruhle gained 12.5% earlier in the day, which is surely welcomed after a weak performance the previous week. The other two shows didn't fare as well, with Morning Joe down 1% from the previous weeks. The show would have been down far more if wasn't for a strong post-special election performance. Deadline: White House fell a steeper 3%, the worst w2w of any MSNBC show. It also lost its #15 position to fellow MSNBCer Morning Joe.

Simply put, this was CNN's week. The Alabama election helped Anderson Cooper 360 deliver some of its best numbers in months, helping it become the first show to dethrone Rachel Maddow as the leader of the pack. And the victory wasn't close, with a weekly average of 0.42, a 95% gain from last week. AC360 was the show most affected, but CNN made large gains elsewhere. Erin Burnett OutFront, which had an awful preceding week, marked a 36% increase. And unlike AC360, Erin Burnett's huge gains were huge even without Tuesday's ratings, which is a very impressive feat. The Lead also made a healthy 13% gain, back in the Top 10 after dipping out of it last week. CNN Tonight only had three airings at 10 this week, but those three episodes were up 6%. The show did slip behind OutFront, which simply had a stronger week. Wolf and At This Hour stayed at the low end, but were up 13% and 7% respectively. Wolf also gained another position this week, up to 11th, while ATH was steady at 13th. The network also celebrated its first primetime 18-49 victory, with a decisive win over second-place MSNBC, after two weeks in last. In addition to winning the week in primetime, CNN also holds the most spots in the Top 10, with 4 vs. the 3 of both MSNBC and Fox News.

Fox News:
Fox News had a rough week this week. None of its shows were down 10% or more, but three of its five shows were down from last week in a dominant cable news week. The Ingraham Angle was just about the only positive, up 12% from last week and nearly matching Hannity. Ingraham Angle was steady in the rankings, but this marked the first time that it wasn't the primetime lineup's weakest link.  Its lead-in, the even Hannity, fell to third this time around. Leading off the primetime lineup, Tucker Carlson had a dreadful 9.2% decline. It wasn't affected too majorly by Alabama (unlike its later companions), and had some pretty rough datapoint that brought it down. The show still remained a strong asset for Fox News, but its slip from 2nd to 6th isn't great. Elsewhere, Fox & Friend had another minor dip of nearly 3%, with down from 10th to 12th in the rankings. Shepard Smith Reporting also had a minor decline of 1%, though it managed to hold its position. One consolation prize: once again, Fox News held that coveted first place in viewers.

And now it's time for Winners & Losers...

Winner of the Week: Anderson Cooper 360
This week, the winner was very clear. Anderson Cooper 360 not only took over the top spot for the first time, but it also nearly doubled its ratings from the previous week. The show's four hour long coverage of Alabama's special election is the reason for this, notching a 0.96 at its peak. That's higher than any other show veered here has gotten during this segment's three-week history, and it's impressive for just about any cable show, not just one on cable news. The show will certainly fall down in the ranks next week, but as of now, it's king.

Loser of the Week: Tucker Carlson Tonight
While all other primetime shows either made huge gains or held steady, Tucker Carlson Tonight fell 9%. In doing so, it sank in the rankings from second to sixth and went from Fox News' big winner to dead last in primetime. It was a rough week for Fox News in general, with just of their shows (The Ingraham Angle) taking advantage of the special election that helped other shows make healthy gains. TCT lost more than any other shows, and it's this week's ratings loser.

And once again, here's the reason you're all here, the chart of our eighteen covered shows:

And the network rankings for the week of 12/11:
What did you think of this week's cable news developments? Who are your winners and losers this week? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!


Due to the holidays, Rebecca Takes on the News will take some time off. The series returns for season 2 in February. Thanks for understanding and happy holidays! ❄️☃️🎄🕎🕯️

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