The bombshell news that President Trump fired now former FBI Director James Comey agitated cable news ratings on Tuesday night, catapulting MSNBC into top place for coverage. The last time Fox trailed MSNBC and CNN occurred during the Democratic National Convention in July.
According to Nielsen Media Research ratings released Wednesday, Fox News finished in third place behind MSNBC and CNN in the 25 to 54 age primetime demographic, with Fox still taking the top spot in total viewers. MSNBC finished first in primetime from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET in the key demographic advertisers covet most, with 738,000 viewers in that category. CNN was second with 719,000 viewers and Fox third with 700,000 tuning in.
In total viewers in primetime, Fox averaged 3.307 total viewers. MSNBC registered 2.856 million and CNN 1.865 million.
Tucker Carlson and Rachel Maddow fought it out for top spot with their analysis of the news.
The most-watched program of the evening was "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on Fox with 3.443 million total viewers and 727,000 in the demographic. "The Rachel Maddow Show" was second with 3.354 million total viewers, but was first in the demographic with 873,000 viewers.
Carlson and Maddow also owned the second and third most-watched programs in all of basic cable, only finishing behind TNT and its coverage of the annually highly-rated NBA playoffs.
Fox did win the first hour after the Comey news broke at 6 p.m. ET in both the 25 to 54 demographic and in total viewers, with 527,000 viewers from the demographic tuning into "Special Report with Bret Baier" and capturing 2.895 million viewers overall.
CNN's "Situation Room" finished second at 6 p.m. ET with 522,000 in the demographic and 1.789 total million viewers. MSNBC was third with 341,000 in the demographic and 1.414 million total viewers.