MSNBC's Brian Williams and Rachel Maddow. Photo: Heidi Gutman/MSNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

MSNBC topped Fox News in total viewers during the week of Dec. 17 for the first time since 2000 as its flagship "The Rachel Maddow Show" ended the week as cable news' most-watched program. (Update: Fox News notes that Sean Hannity, who is opposite Maddow at 9 p.m. ET, has been out for the holidays since Dec. 14.)

The big picture: MSNBC's rise comes as the AP reports that Fox News' fortunes may be tied to the state of news from the Trump administration. Sean Hannity, the network's preeminent host and "Maddow" competitor, is set to earn the title of most popular cable news personality this year, but his ratings have fallen 19% in the month following the midterm elections as the rest of Fox News' prime time slate have also fallen 20% in the same time period.

Disclosure: NBC is an investor in Axios and NBC News Chairman Andy Lack is on our board of directors.

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