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It hasn't been the best year for a lot of TV programs, as ratings have dropped thanks to more DVR viewership and the fact there are simply more TV options than ever available to home viewers. This is true even of the major news sites, which have put together a slew of different shows starring a variety of different hosts. It can be hard to compete when there are so many big names on the airwaves---and so many other ways to get your news, including the Internet. However, in 2016, one big competitor who saw huge ratings gains was none other than MSNBC's Rachel Maddow.
The show recently ended 2016 with the highest ratings in the 9 p.m. timeslot ever on MSNBC. That's 20 years of lower ratings in the timeslot, considering MSNBC launch back in 1996. When you look at her total numbers that may not seem super impressive. The Rachel Maddow Show only averaged 1.44 million total viewers during 2016, which would not be a good number for a major network like, say, NBC. Regardless, this was a 72% improvement over 2015's numbers, which is really an achievement. And, as the earliest sentence in this paragraph notes, it's a big number for a network like MSNBC.
This isn't to say that Rachel Maddow is simply out there beating all of the other competition. If you have any awareness of what's popular in the world of news, you probably already know that Fox News generally crushes the competition. This was true this year, as well, as Fox News had the top highest 11 programs on the air, including shows like The O'Reilly Factor, Hannity and The Kelly File. The Rachel Maddow show actually finished 12th in the ratings out of all of those programs, beating anything that airs on CNN and a slew of other MSNBC programs, as well as some smaller shows.
In the 25-54 advertising demographic, Rachel Maddow also did well. The numbers show her series increased 115% in the ratings in the advertising demographic, as well. The network also says it was the fastest growing Top 100 cable network, too.
Of course, some of this could have to do with the fact that 2016 was an election year, and a tumultuous one at that. More people were paying attention to political news, thanks to the race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Rachel Maddow's profile may have been raised, in particular, because she helped to moderate one of the debates between Clinton and Bernie Sanders and she also handled a slew of the other election coverage outside of her show for MSNBC.