Rebecca Takes On the Cable News, Week of February 26: Erin Burnett OutFront Is a CNN Savior

The Olympics are finally over, and cable news should be very happy. The end of the weeks-long sporting event brought on gains for much of cable news, and I'm sure the networks can all appreciate that. It was a busy week for cable news, with the Trump Administration providing plenty of major stories, particularly with the departure of Communications Director Hope Hicks.

During their first week away from the Olympics, MSNBC had a week of mixed fortunes. While their primetime lineup soared this week to a comfortable first place, their daytime shows had a rough time. It's the most striking difference in daytime and late-night lineups of all the networks this week. Eternal 17th place series Velshi & Ruhle stayed there this week, with a 5.5% percent decline this week, mostly due to one very, very ugly datapoint. That's the worst decline of the MSNBC shows, so things really could have been worse. Morning Joe was their only other show that ticked down, with a tiny 1.5% decline. It also fell one spot in the rankings, down to 13th after taking 12th last week. The network also had a tepid performance by Deadline: White House, which had a rough start to the week but slowly was able to tie the previous week. It also holds its #14 slot, and is just-barely MSNBC's lowest-rated show on the chart. And now to primetime, which MSNBC should be much, much happier about. Their entire 8-10 lineup had a great week this time around. One show in particular stood out among the rest, and that show would be The Rachel Maddow Show. The #1 show in cable news soared 10% this past week, more than any other show, despite seemingly having less to gain than any other show. The primetime bookends, All In and The Last Word, were both up about 6%, with The Last Word making a strong (albeit unsuccessful) run for the cable news bronze, while All In managed to secure its first Top 5 finish. MSNBC easily coasted to a primetime victory for the third straight time this week, which is very impressive.

Well, it certainly was an interesting week to be CNN. On the one hand, their primetime lineup plummeted this week. On the other hand... at least Erin Burnett OutFront did well? There's really no way to spin this rough week for CNN, because it really was not good. Dropping the most of all was CNN Tonight, down nearly 15% and four spots to 9th. That isn't great. Anderson Cooper 360 didn't fare much better, down about 7%, but it did manage to hold its ranking from last week. Things do get a bit better from there at least, with Erin Burnett OutFront rising 4% and one slot. This isn't a high-end performance for OutFront, but it's not a bad one at all and it really could be much worse considering ratings for other CNN shows. Making it look even better was the razor thin margin between it and AC360, just 0.001. That is as close as it possibly could get. The Lead also had a pretty decent week, holding steady in the rankings and rising 1%. At This Hour repeated Deadline: White House's feat and held completely steady, both in the rankings and the demo. THat's not ver impressive considering how low those ratings are, but it's better than falling. Speaking of falling, Wolf tumbled 8% and very nearly returned to 16th place. And capping off a rough week for CNN, their primetime lineup remained in last, with the gap between it and Fox News widening significantly.

Fox News:
I beat on Fox News pretty hard last week, but this week is a completely different story. The network really turned things around this week, with both its primetime and daytime shows rising. Neither other network can say that. The primetime lineup didn't quite experience the gains I'd been expecting, but it also didn't take the huge CNN-esque declines, which is great news. The channel's highest gainer was Shepard Smith Reporting, which rose almost 10% and two spots on the chart. Obviosuly it isn't even close to its huge performance from two weeks ago, but that doesn't take away from this being a strong week for it. In other (Fox) news, primetime anchor Hannity was up about 6%, enough to reclaim its title as #1 Fox News show and its silver position among cable news. At this point, its greatest rival isn't Rachel Maddow, but Tucker Carlson, which is seemingly always clicking at its heels. Tucker Carlson only gained 2% this time around, so it lost to Hannity this time, but don't assume that they'll be in the same situation next time. Expect anything in this fight between two Fox News powerhouses. The Ingraham Angle was up 5% this week, looking much healthier with a 6th place finish. It's easily the weakest member of the Fox News primetime lineup, but it's doing more than enough to stay ahead of the rest of Fox, or CNN's lineup for that matter. And I didn't forget about morning series Fox & Friends, which continued to do its thing with a 10th place finish and a 3% ratings bump.

And now for the Winners & Losers:

Winner of the Week: The Rachel Maddow Show
I can't say this enough: Rachel Maddow is the Queen of Cable News. This week was an absolutely amazing one for her, with a 10% decline after already-strong ratings. It won the week by more than a tenth of a point, a huge victory. It also helped push up the ratings for its fellow MSNBC shows, helping to give MSNBC a comfortable cable news win once again. The Rachel Maddow Show is MSNBC's, and cable news's, greatest asset. And, somehow for the first time, it's the Winner of the Week.

Loser of the Week: Anderson Cooper 360
Looking at the ratings, one could make a case for this being Velshi & Ruhle or CNN Tonight's rightful title. But I was more disappointed with Anderson Cooper 360's ratings than I was with those shows. AC360 is supposed to be CNN's flagship series, and this week it really floundered. It declined 8% in a week where it should have made gains. That's really unfortunate, and that's why AC360 is the Loser of the Week.

It was a crazy week of cable news ratings. Hopefully this chart can help understand it a little better:

And hopefully this one helps as well:

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!

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