CNN fell to a 15 year primetime low last night in a key demo and limboed down to its second worse weekday primetime since March 1997. A new episode of Piers Morgan Tonight at 9 PM drew in only 39,000 viewers in the Adult 25-54. The news network itself averaged just 308,000 viewers in primetime with Morgan’s show and Anderson Cooper’s AC360 leading at 8 PM and again at 10 PM. CNN had 73,000 viewers in the Adult 25-54 during Tuesday’s primetime. This comes on the heels of April’s bad news when the network had its lowest-rated month in over a decade. The forensics on the 9 PM slot’s low Adult 25-54 numbers are revealing. The last time a CNN show had that kind of demo numbers in that weekday timeslot was on August 22, 1997. Back in 1997, a Larry King Live show on a Friday night got 50,000 viewers in the Adult 25-54. However unlike 1997, when the show’s total viewership was 693,000, Morgan’s show last night only had a total viewership of 284,000. That actually wasn’t actually a record low for Morgan’s show, which debuted on January 17, 2011, but it was down from a regular weekday. Over on Fox News, Sean Hannity had 1.7 million viewers in the 9 PM slot, with 334,000 viewers in the Adult 25-54. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show had 839,000 viewers, with 315,000 in the Adult 25-54. In the last …
A month shy of his one-year anniversary at CNN, Piers Morgan just posted his lowest-rated month to date in the key adults 25-54 demographic. His Piers Morgan Tonight averaged 154,000 viewers in the demo in November. That was down 4% from the delivery of his predecessor Larry King in the 9 PM slot last November. Meanwhile, in his first full month at 8 PM, MSNBC’s Ed Schultz drew 201,000 in 25-54. That was better than the 176,000 demo viewers Lawrence O’Donnell delivered in the slot in October. But it was down 35% from the performance of Keith Olbermann in the 8 PM hour last November. (O’Donnell too was down 35% from Olbermann’s October 2010 average.) Overall, Fox News once again led the cable news network pack in November with 258,000 viewers among adults 25-54, followed by MSNBC (138,000) and CNN (121,000).
September seemed to smile on Anderson Cooper. CNN says that its prime time ratings for the month are up 46% (to 253,000) in its target 25-54 demo, and 34% (to 769,000) in total viewers, vs. the same time last year. And a big part of that is due to Anderson Cooper 360: In the competition with Fox News and MSNBC, CNN says that AC 360 was the only 8 PM ET news show whose audience grew. It was up 36% in the demo (212,000), while MSNBC’s The Last Word fell 35% (185,000) and Fox’s O’Reilly Factor was off 14% (611,000). For full-day ratings, CNN says it’s up 16% in total viewers (450,000) and 25% in its demo (148,000). By contrast, MSNBC was up 4% in total viewers (412,000) and 2% in the demo (143,000), while Fox was up 2% in viewers (1.06M) and down 3% in the demo (264,000).
Meanwhile Cooper’s syndicated daytime talk show for Warner Bros TV, Anderson, is off to a promising start. It averaged a 1.3 rating a 4 share in its second week, up 30% and 33%, respectively, compared with Week 1. The numbers are better for his target of women 25-54: His share in that demo was up 50% in major markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco.
It’s always better to have unfiltered ratings information instead of selected portions released by the networks in question, but in the case of Current TV that is not possible since the data is private, so we have to rely on what the network released today on last night’s premiere of Countdown With Keith Olbermann. It is only demo information for cable news networks’ key demographic of adults 25-54, with no total viewer figures. In 25-54, Olbermann drew a solid 179,000 viewers, almost 10 times Current’s previous primetime average in total viewers. He was far behind the cable news ratings leader in the 8 PM hour, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly (735,000 in 25-54), and couldn’t match his replacement at MSNBC, Lawrence O’Donnell (237,000), but he was very competitive in the hour and crushed CNN’s Elliot Spitzer (89,000).
CNN’s former dominance in coverage of major international crises is long gone. Fox News leads the cable news ratings for the coverage of the unrest in Egypt so far by a wide margin, but the continuous coverage of the turmoil in Cairo has lifted CNN from No.3 to No.2 in most categories. From Monday through Thursday, Fox News drew 2.5 million viewers (628,000 in adults 25-54) in primetime and 1.2 million (344,000) in total day. CNN’s averages were: primetime (959,000; 341,000 in 25-45) and total day (620,000; 213,000 in 25-54), MSNBC drew 961,000 (254,000 in 25-54) in primetime and 486,000 (134,000 in 25-54) in total day. Vs. their January averages, CNN posted the biggest ratings bump, up 43% in total viewers in primetime. It was followed closely by Fox News, up 38%, while MSNBC didn’t gain a lot, up 16%.
The much publicized Cairo attack on CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Wednesday led to a rare win for his AC 360 program that night in the 25-54 demographic (409,000) over Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren (342,000) and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow (231,000). Van Susteren still won the 10 PM in total viewers by a comfortable margin (1.7 million vs. 1.2 million) By Thursday night, Cooper’s demo advantage was pretty much gone, averaging 446,000 viewers in the 25-54 demographic vs. 443,000 for Van Susteren.
Piers Morgan is making good on his promise to Deadline that he was “about to” lock down his new CNN show’s Executive Producer. I’ve confirmed that hard news veteran Jonathan Wald, the former CNBC topper who left last year after taking the business channel to new ratings highs, is in negotiations with Morgan and the new CNN head Ken Jautz to lead the news channel’s replacement show for Larry King Live. (Broadcasting & Cable reported this first today.) Trust me, he won’t come cheap. But it’s hard for me to imagine that, given all his experience, Wald would be content running just one show when he’s been in charge of entire programming schedules. I can’t help but wonder if this is a way in for Wald at CNN which certainly could use his proven ability to get cable news ratings and keep them.
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