Sean Hannity has bested cable news competitor Rachel Maddow in ratings for his first week in a new 9pm time slot, thanks to a boost from high-profile guests.
The conservative Fox News commentator took over the new time slot on Monday in an effort to counter MSNBC’s liberal maven Maddow, whose viewership has surged since the 2016 election.
Hannity’s high-powered guest lineup included Steve Bannon, Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly, who formerly anchored Fox’s 9pm slot until his ouster from the network in April.
House Speaker Paul Ryan also appeared on Hannity on Wednesday.
Sean Hannity (left) beat out MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow in his first week in the 9m slot, thanks in part to the appearance of several big-name guests such as Steve Bannon (right)
Maddow has surged in popularity since the election of President Donald Trump, comforting liberal viewers with her spunky indignation at the new administration
For the week, Hannity averaged 3.5million viewers and 713,000 viewers in the key 25-54 age demographic, besting Maddow’s 2.7million and 599,000, respectively.
HANNITY DAILY RATINGS IN NEW SLOT
Monday-Steve Bannon: 3.27M total viewers; 666K key demo
Tuesday-Bill O’Reilly: 3.89M total viewers; 781K key demo
Wednesday-Paul Ryan: 3.12M total viewers; 626K key demo
Thursday-Rush Limbaugh: 3.72M total viewers; 779K key demo
Maddow has surged in popularity since the election of President Donald Trump, comforting liberal viewers with her spunky indignation at the new administration.
The Rachel Madow Show finished the third quarter as the number one cable news show on television across the quarter, a first for an MSNBC show.
Hannity hopes to wrest the crown back, but experts warn that it’s mostly a matter of bragging rights, since few viewers would switch loyalties from Fox to MSNBC, or vice versa.
‘I wouldn’t make a lot out of it,’ Joseph Bonner, a senior analyst for communications and technology at Argus Research, told Politico.
Bill O’Reilly’s Tuesday guest appearance was the most-watched Hannity episode of the week
Conservative commentator Limbaugh was one of the high-profile guests on Hannity this week
Bonner added that a single week wasn’t enough to draw conclusions, and that the stakes of the ratings battle wouldn’t be life or death for either show.
‘Certainly bragging rights, but I don’t think MSNBC is going to be canceling Maddow or anything,’ he said.
Hannity’s move opens up Fox News’ 10pm slot for a new show hosted by conservative commentator Laura Ingraham, set to launch on October 30.
Bill O’Reilly’s Tuesday guest appearance was the most-watched Hannity episode of the week.
O’Reilly briefly addressed his downfall earlier this year and said he should have ‘fought back’ when advertisers began pulling out of The O’Reilly Factor as sexual harassment claims against him mounted.
For the week, Hannity averaged 3.5million viewers and 713,000 viewers in the key 25-54 age demographic, besting Maddow’s 2.7million and 599,000, respectively
He insisted he has not let the scandal get the better of him nor does he miss his prime time spot, gloating that after being fired by Rupert Murdoch and his sons in April, he spent a blissful summer ‘on the ocean’.
At times he overpowered his host, reciting lengthy monologues while peering down the barrel of the camera while Hannity, no longer in the frame, joked: ‘He’s taking over!’
‘I’m here, I’m alive,’ O’Reilly joked at the start of his appearance.
Making no mention of the fact that he was fired, the pair pondered O’Reilly’s possible return to the mainstream airwaves – something the 68-year-old said he would have to consider carefully being accepting.