It seems, when Donald Trump insults you, it can be good for ratings after all. During the Presidential campaign, when President Trump laid into a competitor like “Little Marco” or Lying Hillary, their stock went down. But, after a series of “mean tweets” directed at Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski, the MSNBC anchor’s show saw its ratings spike.
After the now infamous “bloody facelift” tweets, more people than ever tuned in to watch Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough address the “issue.” How many? Well, according to Nielsen, it was about 1.66 million. Ironically, the second-highest number came the day after the 2016 election that saw Trump defeat Clinton in what was, for many in the major media, a stunning surprise.
It was a brief shining moment for a program that tends to run second to Fox’s morning program, Fox & Friends. This time, at least, Joe and Mika beat their three rivals on the other network. They did it by nearly doubling their average viewership of about 896,000.
While there’s no doubt the huge uptick was good news for MSNBC’s duo, there’s also plenty of people who are calling it a flash in the pan. Both of the highest rated shows had to do directly with Trump, and, of course, most Trump fans prefer Fox & Friends to anything on MSNBC. So, it’s entirely possible this uptick is only because a lot of Trump fans tuned in to see the fallout created or outrage expressed by the TV duo.
There may be others, too, who watched because they support what they believe Morning Joe represents, a somewhat politically central program on a very left-leaning network. While the morning shows mix daily news, events and social commentary, each has a definite lean – a spin if you will – and this is an intentional marketing tool.
Both the Fox and MSNBC morning programs set the table for a particular audience, and they tend to draw that audience on a regular basis. When a show gets nearly double, more digging is necessary. It’s one thing to assume why more people are watching. It’s something else entirely to have actionable information to work from.
From a marketing and PR standpoint, it’s an interesting dynamic for producers. They now know nearly twice as many people are willing to watch their program … under certain circumstances. This could offer a series of facts and metrics that would allow producers to create a program that might turn one-time or occasional viewers into regular viewers … if they figure out the formula.