Jesse Watters falls short of Tucker Carlson on debut episode, ‘Maddow’ beats ‘Hannity’ by a hair

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The ratings for “Jesse Watters Primetime,” the show that replaced “Tucker Carlson Tonight” are in — and while Fox continues to dominate the entire evening schedule with its new lineup, Watters‘ ratings still aren’t quite at the level that Carlson was getting.

According to Nielsen figured released July 18, 2023, Watters had about 2.5 million viewers Monday, July 17, 2023, the night Fox unveiled a new schedule that included moving Laura Ingraham and Greg Gutfeld, adding an hour featuring Trace Gallagher and eliminating a full hour of live programming.

That number easily beat a special from Joe Scarborough on MSNBC that scored 1.288 million viewers. CNN’sAnderson Cooper 360” had just 686,000 viewers. The 8 p.m. eastern slot on MSNBC is normally occupied by “All In with Chris Hayes” but, because that show did not air that night and MSNBC updated its schedule, the hour was rated separately from “All In” numbers.

Watters’ numbers don’t quite come close to what Carlson was averaging before the network dropped him earlier in 2023. He was averaging around 3.2 million each night.

After Carlson’s show was axed, Fox’s overall evening ratings dipped so much that MSNBC was nipping at its heels.

July 17 also saw “The Rachel Maddow Show” eke out Fox’s “Hannity” at 9 p.m. eastern with 2.357 million viewers compared to Sean Hannity’s 2.243 million (“Maddow” only airs on Mondays and tends to perform better than the Tuesday through Friday show “Alex Wagner Tonight“).

The win was relatively small in the grand scheme of things. It’s also unlikely Maddow was able to attract viewers who would have normally been watching “Hannity” given their vastly different styles and ideologies. Instead, it could be indicative of continued ratings losses due to the “Tucker” cancellation. With “Maddow” only airing once a week, it’s also possible that her show becomes more “appointment viewing” to regular viewers.

These figures are preliminary and do not include the overnight repeat airings of the shows that air on all three networks.