Three months ago today MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” moved out of its 5pm timeslot — making way for Ed Schultz — to a single 7pmET airing. In the process, the one-a-day has given the 7pm hour a boost. Three of the four nights it was on last week (pre-empted Friday for JFK coverage) “Hardball” was MSNBC’s No. 1 show in the demo, ahead of Rachel Maddow. It is consistently No. 2 in cable news at that hour, behind FNC’s “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.”
The 7pm hour is up +47% in total viewers and up +29% in the A25-54 demo compared to the first eight months of 2013 before the change was made. Compared to August alone, “Hardball” at 7pm ET is up +92% in total viewers and up +69% in the demo.
“I’ve asked Hardball fans to adjust their evening viewing habit and I’m gratified that so many have,” Matthews told TVNewser. “These are obviously very important times and loyalty counts for a lot with me.”
There’s also good news for the “Ed Show” at 5pmET: the 5pm hour is up +5% in total viewers and +3% in the A25-54 demo compared to the first eight months of 2013, when Matthews was still live at 5pmET.
This ratings success is happening in an off-election year, so it will be interesting to monitor Matthews’ ratings as the 2014 midterm election cycle approaches.