10/30/2013 07:18 am ET Updated Oct 30, 2013

MSNBC Tops CNN; October Ratings For Cable News Down From 2012

MSNBC topped CNN in primetime and total day during the month of October, according to the latest Nielsen numbers.

MSNBC beat CNN among total viewers (795,000 to 576,000) and viewers in the key 25-54 demo (233,000 to 189,000) during primetime. It also topped CNN in total day for total viewers (491,000 to 441,000) and viewers in the key demo (145,000 to 135,000).

The numbers come as welcome news for MSNBC, which had a rough time in the ratings earlier this year. It regained its foothold in August, and both MSNBC and CNN claimed victories for Q3 2013.

All three cable news networks saw dramatic decreases compared to this time last year, a particularly newsy month which saw the 2012 election — including presidential debates — and the beginning of Hurricane Sandy coverage. CNN's declines in primetime, however, were smaller than MSNBC's. CNN was down 45 percent among total viewers and down 50 percent in the demo in primetime. Meanwhile, MSNBC was down 45 percent in total viewers and 55 percent in the demo during primetime.

Individual CNN shows, like "New Day," "The Lead" and "Crossfire," also showed growth in total viewers and in the demo compared to October 2012. All of MSNBC shows were down from last year, but "Morning Joe" and all the primetime shows were up compared to September 2013.

Fox News led the pack as usual with 1,862,000 total viewers and 323,000 viewers ages 25-54 during primetime. However, the network — which has been experiencing ratings woes in the demo — was down the most when compared to October 2012: during primetime, Fox News saw 46 percent fewer viewers and 59 percent fewer viewers ages 25-54.


Q3 2013 Cable News Ratings