In Ratings Shake-Up, Is MSNBC Winning, or Is FOX Losing?

I always figured Bill O’Reilly must have been just a comfortable habit for some people.

His shtick didn’t work for me: the waving of the magic pen, the third-person “Talking Points believes tonight…” and the jerk-uncle tone with guests.

Yet, as the song says, “Nothing Compares 2U”.

MSNBC is currently winning the primo demographics for the longest period of time since December 2008, and it’s not even close. FOX, the perennial champ, now Bill-less, is often in third place, finishing behind even CNN.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, another shtick-meister whose appeal is lost on me, is ruling the roost now. Oddly, she shares O’Reilly’s smug, smartest-guy-in-the-room mien. Maybe we just like having being talked down to.

The conventional wisdom in the business is that the White House/Russia chaos is driving this ratings shakeup. One problem, though: all the channels cover that, so why would FOX be down and MSNBC be up?

“Variety” editor Brian Steinberg raises the question this way: “Are liberal viewers motivated to watch more closely, while conservatives are not?”

Or to put it another way, if you hate Trump, you’re loving his ordeal, and Rach’ is your girl.

If you’re a Trump-fan, sick of FlynnRussiaComey, you’re not spending as much time with your favorite folks on FOX because it’s too depressing. So, you left the FOX fold for something lighter.

Netflix and...chill, anyone?

Obviously, more and more people watch the network that thinks like them. Maybe it goes deeper. Maybe we’re starting to avoid news when the news is bad for our side.

I’d be more inclined to see Maddow/MSNBC’s audience growth as the Democratic/”Resistance” having a surge of enthusiasm, relative to some temporarily bummed Trumpsters.

Trump’s ups and downs may be FOX’s and MSNBC’s, too.





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