MSNBC’s Joy Reid Leads Weekend Ratings Ahead Of CNN

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Written by Ann Brown
Joy Reid
MSNBC’s Joy Reid. Photo: Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto/Getty

Ratings rule when it comes to cable news, and right now MSNBC’s Joy Reid is the reigning queen. Reid’s show “AM Joy” ended the first quarter of 2018 with the highest quarterly ratings in the 10 a.m.-to-noon time slot in the cable network’s history.

“With an average total audience of 1.287 million, AM Reid easily outpaced CNN (838,000) for the quarter, the third straight with a total audience of more than a million viewers. Among viewers 25-54, the demographic coveted by advertisers, AM Joy took its first victory over CNN, with 265,000 viewers to CNN’s 244,000,” Forbes reported. Reid’s morning show, which airs two hours each Saturday and Sunday, jumped up 27 percent on Saturdays for the 25-54 age demographic.

Reid’s ratings have been impressing the media world.

“Her overall viewership for “A.M. Joy” rose 59 percent in the third quarter, while viewership in the 25-54 demo rose 55 percent in the same time period. She’s creating appointment viewing for MSNBC weekends, which in the past were simply devoted to straitlaced breaking-news coverage. She is also becoming one of the network’s most reliable pinch hitters. In recent weeks, MSNBC viewers have seen her filling in for the cabler’s most-watched personalities,” Variety reported.

It seems that MSNBC’s plan of offering more live news coverage and banking on breaking news and politics-heavy programming on weekends has proved a successful strategy.

“Even better it’s the first time that MSNBC has ever topped CNN on Saturday morning shows in the 25-to-54 age demographic in 16 years. Audience tuning in has grown 33 percent since last year’s quarter ratings,” Forbes reported.

One key event that helped put MSNBC on top was Reid’s coverage of the March for Our Lives calling for of tighter gun control. During this period, MSNBC dominated live coverage, besting CNN and Fox News.

Reid was a key part of MSNBC’s special coverage of the march from noon to 3 p.m. on March 24. Coverage was led by Brian Williams and included Reid hosting a special edition of “AM Joy” in the field at the march site in Washington, D.C., where 800,000 people protested at the capitol, and student leaders of the march joined Reid for live interviews, Forbes reported.

What has been Reid’s winning formula? Media observers say it’s her ability to break down complicated issues into easily digestible information, making her easy to relate to. It has also helped that she’s been able to reel in big names for interviews, such as MSNBC’s second sit-down interview with Hillary Clinton to discuss the former presidential candidate’s book, “What Happened.”

Ratings queen or not, Reid wasn’t sure what her role would be when MSNBC did a revamp and canceled a slew of its daytime shows (including Reid’s then early-afternoon show), deciding instead to focus on breaking-news coverage. The network offered Reid a position as a correspondent.

“When it happened, it was bad–disappointing, embarrassing, all of the things that being canceled is,” she told Variety. But “I decided to do it,” she said. This eventually led to “AM Joy”.

And the rest, as they say, is TV history.

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