Nellie Andreeva

Despite a popular and controversial guest, Howard Stern, the second edition of Piers Morgan’s new talk show on CNN drew 1.27 million viewers, down almost 40% from its Monday premiere. But Stern proved its demo mettle by helping Morgan climb 6% in adults 25-54 (550,719) from the premiere and edge the 9 PM slot leader, Fox’s Sean Hannity (2.2 million, 506,441 in 25-54) in the demo. However, Hannity was in full control among total viewers, beating Morgan almost 2:1. Yesterday, Morgan tweeted to Hannity: “If I don’t smack you down tonight with Howard, I’ll take you on Thursday with Ricky Gervais. love Piers.” He probably will have to wait until Thursday night for the promised full-blown smackdown, though his demo victory last night was impressive. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow (1.13 million, 264,961 in 25-54) held steady in total viewers and is now running neck-and-neck with Morgan after finishing a distant third on Monday. She slipped in the demo by about 100,000 viewers from Monday.

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