Trump bump: Rachel Maddow soars with tax reveal
Tuesday night telecast averages 4.13 million total viewers
March 17, 2017
Sure, the return was from 2005, but it would be a rare glimpse into the earnings the president has bent over backwards to keep secret.
Hype built throughout the day leading up to Maddow’s Tuesday night broadcast.
Critics, of which there were many, slammed Maddow for overselling her scoop, and then slammed her again for over-staging her actual report on Trump’s taxes.
And as it turns out, the report didn’t end up delivering much in terms of substance, showing some basics income and deductions for the year but critically not where the income came from.
But boy did the episode deliver viewers.
It averaged 4.13 million total viewers, according to Nielsen, the show’s largest audience ever. It also set a series best among viewers 25-54, averaging 1.4 million in the news demo.
It was the second-largest audience ever for a regularly scheduled program on MSNBC. It finished behind only an episode of “Countdown with Keith Olbermann.” That came in late October 2008, about a week before Barack Obama won his first presidential election.
Maddow also beat out her timeslot competition. Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” averaged 3.0 million viewers in the hour, while CNN averaged 1.1 million viewers.
The episode was even competitive with competition on broadcast. It was third in the timeslot behind NBC’s “This Is Us” and CBS’s “NCIS: New Orleans.”
How early buzz pumped up the episode
Maddow herself built buzz for the telecast on Twitter. At 6:36 p.m. that night she tweeted “BREAKING: We’ve got Trump tax returns. Tonight, 9pm ET. MSNBC. (Seriously).”
Forty-eight minutes later she gave viewers a bit more, tweeting, “What we’ve got is from 2005… the President’s 1040 form… details to come tonight 9PM ET, MSNBC.”
Responding to her many critics, Maddow dismissed charges of over-hype, telling the Associated Press on Thursday:
“Because I have information about the President doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily a scandal. It doesn’t mean that it’s damning information. If other people leaped to that conclusion without me indicating that it was, that hype is external to what we did.”
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