About an hour and a half before “The Rachel Maddow Show” aired on Tuesday night, host Rachel Maddow sent out a tweet.
The tax returns mentioned in the tweet were actually anonymously sent to tax expert and Pulitzer Prize winner David Cay Johnston, but that didn’t stop people from tuning into Maddow’s show.
All told, 4.1 million people watched “The Rachel Maddow Show” on Tuesday night, including 1 million in the advertiser-friendly 18-to-49-year-old demographic, according to Vulture’s Joe Adalian.
That’s nothing compared to the roughly 33 million people who watched the Academy Awards last month, nor does it best entertainment juggernauts like “Game of Thrones,” which pulled in an average of 6.73 million people per episode last year.
But for a cable news show, it’s quite good. In fact, according to Adalian, it beat out everything else on cable on Tuesday.
Maddow is currently enjoying the most successful period of her career. She pulled in the highest ratings of her nine-year stint at MSNBC last month, averaging 2.3 million viewers per episode. Maddow has credited her recent success on the decision to start covering “only what [people in the Trump administration] do rather than what they say.”
The MSNBC host faced some blowback after the episode for “burying the lede” with her typical 20-minute opening monologue, and then only producing two pages of a 2005 federal tax return when she did reveal the documents, which the Trump administration said were accurate even before the show aired.
Maddow later told The Associated Press that if anyone was disappointed with the episode, it was because they overhyped it, not her.
“Because I have information about the president doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily a scandal,” she said. “It doesn’t mean that it’s damning information. If other people leapt to that conclusion without me indicating that it was, that hype is external to what we did.”