MSNBC won primetime in the key news demo last night thanks to Donald Trump, who took over the news cycle (again!) when he told Chris Matthews that, should abortion be banned, any woman who had the procedure should suffer “some form of punishment.” Matthews’ riveting “town hall” with Trump was part of a full MSNBC night of town halls and interviews with four of the five remaining presidential candidates from both parties; only Ted Cruz declined.
John Kasich, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders spent a goodish chunk of their on-air time reacting to Trump’s headline-making statement. Trump spent a lot of time reacting to it too, first with a clarification and then with a statement in which he made a full 180, saying doctors who performed the procedure should undergo some form of punishment if abortion is outlawed, not women who have the procedure.
MSNBC clocked 400K primetime viewers in primetime Wednesday night, to Fox News Channel’s 391K and CNN’s 340K. In overall audience, Fox News led the pack with 2.2M viewers, followed by MSNBC’s 1.6M and CNN’s 1M.
During Trump’s 8 PM hour with Matthews, MSNBC logged 1.7M viewers and 428K news demo viewers. FNC bested that in overall audience (2.2M), but trailed in the demo (400K). CNN clocked 1M viewers and 300K news demo viewers.