In Time of Trump, Liberals Seek Solace in TV

by Paige Albiniak  |  03.13.2017

Left-leaning TV hosts are the surprise winners after Donald Trump won the presidency, reports the New York Times, much like the ascendancy of Fox News in the time of President Bill Clinton.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow is experiencing the highest ratings of her nine-year run as she reports and comments extensively on topics like Trump’s proposed travel ban and connections to Russia. In the week of March 6, Maddow’s 9 p.m. hour topped even Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly among cable news’ key demographic of adults 25-54, averaging 624,000 viewers in the demo for the week, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Overall, MSNBC is up 55 percent in total viewers from last year, averaging 2.62 million viewers.

CBS’ Stephen Colbert, who cut his teeth on politics during his long run on Comedy Central, is now beating NBC’s much less political Jimmy Fallon in late night. And hosts like Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah, TBS’ Samantha Bee and HBO’s John Oliver and Bill Maher all are finding new audiences as a result of the new administration. In fact, Noah is now seeing his best ratings since The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart left in 2015.

“We are in the same position as a lot of our audience is in,” Noah told the Times. “We felt the change and we felt an immediate shift, and we responded accordingly.”

And Saturday Night Live — with Alec Baldwin playing Donald Trump and Melissa McCarthy doing an unannounced cameo of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer — is hitting its highest Nielsen numbers in 24 years, something that’s almost unheard of in this ratings-challenged time.

“Despite a dizzying array of new media choices, viewers are opting for television’s mass gathering spots, seeking the kind of shared experience that can validate and reassure,” noted the Times.

Ratings for news seem to be up across the board. Fox News is up 31 percent from last year, and one-fifth of the 48 million people (nearly 10 million people) who watched Trump’s address to Congress two weeks ago, did so on Fox News.

READ MORE: The New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter

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