Spot for the First Time Ever

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During an especially frenzied news cycle, MSNBC scored its best week in its 21-year-history by beating out both CNN and Fox News in total prime-time viewers and among the demographic prized by advertisers.

CNN and MSNBC have been competing with their coverage of President Donald Trump's recent controversies, including the investigation into alleged collusion between Trump's campaign and Russian officials.

Fox shares were down 1.1% on Tuesday morning to $26.95.

There are increasingly two separate realities to view in America right now, depending on whether you get your news from CNN, MSNBC, CBS etc or Fox News.

MSNBC also ranked No. 1 in overall audience in primetime, averaging 2.437M viewers. The natural implications of those stories might have driven prime-time commentary viewers to the network that has defined itself as the center of the Trump opposition, or to CNN and its perceived middle-road approach, rather than the network which has defined itself as Trump's apologists.

Rachel Maddow hosts "The Rachel Maddow Show" on MSNBC.

Next stop for Trump is Israel, in pursuit of 'ultimate deal'
Trump's two-day visit will include separate meetings with Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas . Trump says people from all nations, "even nations that you would be surprised to hear", want to stop the killing.

All of which made Fox News' ratings performance on the night Ailes died even more shocking: On Thursday, Fox News came in last place among the three cable news channels among viewers between the ages of 25 and 54.

There hasn't been a horse race like this in cable news in quite some time. if ever.

The once-dominant Bill O'Reilly, who led all of cable news with his show ratings, was forced out in April amid sexual harassment claims. Among the 25-to-54-year-old audience that advertisers pay a premium for, Fox finished third to MSNBC and CNN for the first time in 17 years. If that's the case, then a smoother week might produce a return to previous form, and the normal Fox domination of prime time in both the overall and the key demo.

The big picture is this: Cable news, as a medium, is careening toward a defining moment that could transform it significantly or return it to the status quo of the past decade.

"For first time this century, they aren't in first place", noted MSNBC's Joe Scarborough last week. Fox News, meanwhile, finished in third place in that category for the first time since June 2000.

Fox has also moved "The Five" from 5 to 9 p.m., putting the program and its rotating cast of co-hosts head-to-head with MSNBC's wildly successful "The Rachel Maddow Show", last week's most-watched cable news show with an average audience of 2.9 million viewers, according to Nielsen data.