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TV Critic’s Corner

Maddow’s ratings get a Trump bump

Rachel Maddow.AP Photo/ MSNBC, Ali Goldstein

NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” has certainly benefited from the Trump presidency, pulling in some of its best ratings in years. So has “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC, the cable news network that struggled a bit during the Obama administration.

Maddow’s show has been enjoying its highest ratings since 2008. In February, it had its best ratings month ever, almost doubling the number of viewers from the previous February. Last Thursday night, “The Rachel Maddow Show” was in the Top 10 of all shows — No. 6, with 2.5 million overall viewers.

In an interview with The Wrap, Maddow said she believes her approach to Trump’s White House has been an important factor. “We basically cover them as if they are a silent movie,” she said. “I stopped covering the Twitter feed and we started covering only what they do rather than what they say.”


CNN and Fox News — which remains the highest-rated cable news network — have also gained lots of viewers since last February, with increases of 70 percent for CNN and 31 percent for Fox, compared with 99 percent for MSNBC. Also impressive: MSNBC has beaten CNN for the third straight month.

Maddow told The Wrap that leaving behind Trump’s tweets and other verbiage was clarifying: “I really feel like it was helpful to me, in terms of trying to come up with what to talk about every day, and serving up information for our audience that is substantive and not manipulated by people at the White House,” Maddow said. “It was helpful for us to just stop paying attention to what they were saying.”

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.