MSNBC Crushed During Zimmerman Verdict, Despite Wall-to-Wall Coverage

Touré / MSNBC

MSNBC came in a distant fourth place in the cable news ratings during the George Zimmerman verdict Saturday night despite three weeks of extensive trial coverage, Politico reports.

In the 10-11 p.m. hour Saturday night, when Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, MSNBC had just 1,298,000 total viewers according to the preliminary ratings. First-place Fox News (3,682,000) had nearly three times as many, and MSNBC was also far behind HLN (2,203,000 viewers) and runner-up CNN (3,407,000).

MSNBC was also fourth in the coveted 25-54 demographic (510,000), again far behind HLN (980,000), Fox News (1,113,000) and CNN (1,716,000).

The liberal channel showed and analyzed the trial from beginning to end on every program, leaving The Daily Rundown host Chuck Todd exasperated by his usual coverage of Washington being superseded by Zimmerman's case.

Among other recent pitfalls for MSNBC's ratings was the news that its top-rated program The Rachel Maddow Show finished third in the 9 p.m. time slot July 9 with just 744,000 viewers, losing to HLN's Dr. Drew for the runner-up spot it normally occupies behind Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity. The lead-in by the 8 p.m. MSNBC program All In with Chris Hayes, which has struggled since its inception in April, did not help Maddow. Hayes’ program drew just 495,000 viewers that night to finish fourth, behind CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 (769,000), HLN’s Nancy Grace (847,000), and Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor (2,695,000).

A recent Gallup poll found only 2 percent of Democrats use MSNBC as their primary news source, and only 1 percent of U.S. adults overall watch the network for breaking updates on current events.