That long tease MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow spun on President Donald Trump’s taxes may have been mocked by other journalists but the Tuesday report did the trick for her ratings, drawing in 4.13 million viewers, 1.4 million of them in the coveted 25-54 age group, Nielsen Ratings data showed Thursday.
Maddow broadcast a report on Trump’s 2005 tax return, which showed he made $150 million and paid $38 million in federal taxes. But before getting to the meat of the story, she teased viewers for 20 minutes. Interest in Trump’s tax returns is high because he has refused to release them and concerns they may reveal ties to Russia, something he has denied but of interest in light of the Kremlin’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Maddow’s Tuesday night audience was her biggest ever, NBC said, and was 60 percent higher than her average the preceding week, the Hollywood Reporter noted. Among viewers under 50, Maddow scored a 1.0 rating, more than doubling her usual demographic and tripling cable news leader “The O’Reilly Factor’s” usual showing, Vulture reported.
"This is the highest-rated program ever for 'The Rachel Maddow Show' in both total viewer and [between the ages of 24 and 54] demos," an MSNBC spokesman told Poynter. "It is also the network’s second-highest rated regularly scheduled show ever in total viewers."
Maddow beat out CNN’s 1.1 million viewers and Fox News’ 3 million viewers, coming in just behind NBC’s “This Is Us” and CBS’s “NCIS: New Orleans.”
Maddow whipped up interest in the story with a tweet 90 minutes before her 9 p.m. EDT show.
The administration tried to blunt the impact of Maddow’s report, releasing a statement before air time confirming the numbers on the first two pages of the 1040.
“You know you are desperate for ratings when you are willing to violate the law to push a story about two pages of tax returns from over a decade ago,” the administration said in a statement.
The ratings were delayed because of a power outage in Florida.