Democrats turn to Fox’s Tucker Carlson as MSNBC star Rachel Maddow plans hiatus

Cable ratings show the controversial host won a key demographic among blue voters in October

Much-vilified Fox News host Tucker Carlson was more successful than his MSNBC counterpart Rachel Maddow in attracting Democratic viewership among a key demographic. According to Nielsen MRI Fusion ratings from October – the latest available dataset – Carlson’s primetime news show was the most popular one among self-identified Democrats in the age range of 25-54.

Democrats from the demographic that companies have in mind when allocating advertising budgets preferred Fox News to other channels when watching TV during the 8pm to 11pm (EST) time slot. The conservative network drew in 39% of the audience, compared to 31% for MSNBC and 30% for CNN. The lead was even more significant for the total-day viewership. 

‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ remained the top cable news show among Democrats in the key category. But ‘The Rachel Maddow Show’ still held the top spot in total Democratic viewership. 

Fox programming, unsurprisingly, was highly popular among Republicans and won the eyeballs of independent voters too. More than half of independents aged 25-54, or 55%, watched the network on primetime, with CNN and MSNBC splitting the rest of the independent viewers almost equally. 

The data came just as Maddow – a longtime fixture of MSNBC that many consider quintessential of its corporate identity – confirmed plans to step back from the air. She will go on a hiatus until at least April to work as an executive producer on a movie version of her podcast, which will be directed by Ben Stiller, she told viewers this week.

Maddow has hosted her top-rated primetime show on MSNBC since 2008. Last year, she signed a new contract with the network, which reportedly allowed her to scale down her nightly schedule.

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