It seems the more things heat up in Robert Mueller’s investigation of the Trump administration, the bigger the ratings get for The Rachel Maddow Show. That certainly seemed to be the case on Friday: Per Nielsen, Maddow’s MSNBC program drew 3.1 million viewers from 9 to 10 p.m., easily making it the most-watched cable news program of the day. But more stunningly, Maddow was actually the No. 1 show on all of television during its 9 p.m. hour, beating not only archrival Fox News (where Jeanine Pirro subbed for Sean Hannity), but also first-run newsmagazine programming on ABC and CBS, entertainment reruns on Fox and NBC, and cable hits such as A&E’s hit Live PD.
For the entire prime-time block of 8 to 11 p.m. Friday, only one other show on all of TV drew more viewers than Maddow: a 10 p.m. rerun of Dateline on NBC, which attracted 3.3 million viewers. To be sure, this “win” relative to the rest of prime time is something of a fluke, since the broadcast networks aren’t airing their big scripted shows in the summer and Friday numbers in general are depressed for entertainment networks. Plus, the Big Three network newscasts, airing earlier in the night, routinely draw bigger audiences than anything on cable. But for at least one hour Friday, Rachel Maddow was the most popular person on TV.