There may soon be a little less news at the Cable News Network. The Time Warner-owned channel says its exploring “non-fiction original series for the weekend” — which indirectly confirms a New York Post story this morning that says CNN is talking to outside producers to propose reality and talk shows. The network already started down that road when it recently hired author and chef Anthony Bourdain to host a weekend program about food and travel. The Post says that CNN is looking for other personalities like Bourdain. It’s also said to be considering five reality shows for Saturday and Sunday nights as well as a late-night talk show similar to The View. “We routinely pursue new talent and programming concepts within the news category and often shoot pilots for any number of our networks,” CNN says. Its growing interest in “non-fiction” programming, as opposed to news, comes as the network struggles to boost its ratings, which are hitting 20-year lows in prime time.
“We are not satisfied with CNN’s ratings performance and we are focused on fixing it,” Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes told analysts this morning. The problem isn’t that the news network can’t attract viewers. It’s that they don’t hang around once they’ve caught up with the headlines. He hopes to change that by offering “non partisan coverage” that’s presented “in a very compelling and more engaging way than we’ve been doing of late. That’s what we’re going to be doing next.” The news network is looking to replace CNN Worldwide President Jim Walton who recently said he plans to leave at year end. Bewkes says that “there’s tremendous upside on the news side” noting that CNN is “a great brand” that has “the biggest reach in the news category and (is) very strong overseas and online.”
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.
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.
It was an eventful day in Piers Morgan news world. After hitting a ratings and an all-around low for his interview with the Kardashian sisters last week, it became clear that Morgan should be going for better guests. His producers agree, hiring a new booker, 15-year ABC News veteran Katie Thompson who worked primarily with Barbara Walters, including on her 1999 interview with Monica Lewinsky.
Speaking of Barbara Walters and guests on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, former guest Howard Stern, who delivered Morgan’s biggest demo ratings to date, took a shot at the British host on his radio show today. “Stop going around bragging like you’re gonna be the next Barbara Walters, or something,” he said. “I like the guy, but he’s gotta really wise up. Dude, you’re in a whole new f**king ballgame … you’re on CNN, in America – welcome to the war.”
Meanwhile, the final ratings for last week are in, and Piers Morgan finished 3rd (978,000 viewers; 279,000 in 25-54) behind leader, Fox News’ Sean Hannity (2.1 million; 525,000), and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow (1.1 million; 283,000). And with the whole hoopla about “kicking Fox News’ butt”, CNN is pretty much where it was a year ago when Larry King drew almost identical ratings to Morgan in the same 9 PM slot: 989,000 viewers and 290,000 in 25-54.
The second season premiere of FX’s animated comedy Archer last night drew 1.5 million viewers, 986,000 of them in the adults 18-49 demographic. It was down 16% from the series premiere last year but significantly outperformed its first season average. Interesting footnote: Archer‘s lead-in, a rerun of Two and a Half Men, logged 1 million 18-49 viewers on the day Charlie Sheen made headlines with his hospitalizations following a wild party at his house. That was one of the show’s most watched telecasts on FX ever.
Airing against Archer, MTV’s Jersey Shore finally cooled off, but just a tiny bit. After a series of ratings records, the hit reality series averaged 8.83 million viewers last night, a fraction below the record 8.87 million who tuned in last week. The show kept steady in the 12-34 demo with a 8.8 rating and once again ranked as the second highest-rated program on any network behind Idol.
Meanwhile, CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight sunk to a new low last night, and that’s not only a reference to his choice of Kim and Kourtney Kardashian as guests. Morgan’s interview with the Kardashian sisters drew his smallest audience to date by a wide margin, 498,000. That is well below the 2.1 million he attracted in his debut last Monday and below the 674,000 his predecessor Larry King averaged in 2010. How small was Piers Morgan’s audience? It was …
CABLE RATINGS: Record Night For History, SyFy’s ‘Being Human’ Builds, Lawrence O’Donnell Has Solid Debut On MSNBC
With so much attention focused on MTV’s phenomenon Jersey Shore and BET’s The Game, History’s less noisy series Pawn Stars and American Pickers often get overlooked. But last week, they ranked No.4, 5 and 6 behind Jersey Shore and The Game among all cable series in total viewers. And last night, they broke rating records for History with some staggering numbers. The 10:30 PM episode of Pawn Stars drew 7 million viewers, 3.7 million of them in the 18-49 demo, a series high and History’s most watched telecast ever. The 10 PM episode of Pawn Stars was close behind (6.7 million, 3.4 million in 18-49) At 9 PM, American Pickers drew 6.2 million viewers, 2.6 million in 18-49. The 3 programs ranked as cable’s No.1, 2 and 3 shows last night in all key metrics.
Meanwhile, there was good news for Syfy’s new original drama Being Human. While fellow British drama remake Skins on MTV took a dive in its second outing last night, Being Human actually grew in its second airing last night: by 9% in total viewers to 2.14 million and by 21% in Adults 18-49 to 1.21 million. Being Human is now tracking as Syfy’s most successful scripted winter series launch since Battlestar Galactica in 2005.
Well, with guest Ricky Gervais CNN’s Piers Morgan didn’t quite smackdown Sean Hannity. “If I don’t smack you down tonight with Howard, I’ll take you on Thursday with Ricky Gervais. love Piers,” Morgan tweeted to the Fox News host on Tuesday before his second show with Howard Stern. That night, he edged Hannity in 25-54, which has remained Morgan’s only ratings victory in his premiere week. With newsmaker Ricky Gervais as a guest last night, Morgan averaged 1 million viewers, slightly down from Wednesday night for a new low. He lost both the viewer and demo race to Hannity, drawing about half of what his Fox News competitor got. In 25-54, Morgan bounced back from the low on Wednesday. Morgan also returned to second place in total viewers after falling behind MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Wednesday. Here are the rankings for the cable news networks at 9 PM:
Thursday/Day 4 (Ricky Gervias)
FNC’s Hannity: 2,079,000 in P2+ (557,000 in 25-54)
CNN’s Piers: 1,025,000 in P2+ (279,000 in 25-54)
MSNBC’s Maddow: 976,000 in P2+ (264,000 in 25-54)
Piers Morgan started off promisingly as a close No. 2 cable news program at 9PM in its Monday premiere, then fell 40% on Tuesday but still finished second. Last night, Piers Morgan Tonight (1 million total viewers, 239,000 of them in the 25-54 demographic) slipped further to finish behind the time slot leader, Fox News’s Sean Hannity (2 million, 565,000 in 25-54) and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow (1.1 million, 221,000 in 25-54). In the demo, Morgan edged Maddow to finish second after topping Hannity with the Howard Stern interview on Tuesday. Between his premiere and his third airing, Morgan lost half of his audience (1 million viewers.) Last night, Morgan featured his first non-showbiz guest, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Tonight he is back to entertainment with controversial Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais. Here are the standings at 9 PM for the past 3 nights:
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.
In his heavily publicized debut last night, CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight drew 2.1 million viewers, 520,519 of them in the 25-54 demographic. Morgan couldn’t dethrone the reigning king in the 9 PM slot, Fox News’s Sean Hannity (2.4 million, 599,800 in 25-54), who had Sarah Palin on, but crushed MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show (1.1 million, 342,013), which had been Hannity‘s runner-up in the 9 PM hour. Morgan’s premiere, which featured an interview with Oprah Winfrey, came very close to the farewell episode of his predecessor, Larry King, who averaged 2.2 million for the final Larry King Live last month, and is head and shoulders above CNN’s primetime average, including Larry King Live‘s 674,000 viewer average for 2010.
Morgan is getting a great lucky break in his premiere week. A previously scheduled interview with British comedian Ricky Gervais, slated to air on Thursday, has the potential to become a big newsmaking event following Gervais’ much talked about hosting performance at the Golden Globes. Could Gervais do for Morgan what another Brit, Hugh Grant, did for Jay Leno, fueling a ratings upswing? And speaking of noisemakers, Morgan has Howard Stern tonight.
As he is getting ready to take on daytime with his new syndicated talk show next fall, Anderson Cooper’s primetime fortunes are falling. His CNN show Anderson Cooper 360 is wrapping 2010 as its lowest rated year ever in primetime among adults 25-54 and second lowest in total viewers behind only its primetime debut in 2005. Year-to-year, Anderson Cooper (665,000 viewers, 207,000 in 25-54) is down 33% in 25-54 and 32% in total viewers. Cooper’s declines are not isolated as they mirror CNN’s 34% year-to-year drop in total viewers and 25-54. In primetime, 2010 marks the cable news network’s lowest-rated year in both categories in at least 14 years. Still, Cooper’s sharp ratings declines would probably give a pause to Warner Bros., which produces and distributes his daytime talk show, Anderson. For comparison, Nancy Grace, who hosts a primetime show on CNN’s sibling channel HLN, was on the rise, hitting all-time-high ratings last year when she was signed on to do a syndicated show. Her Swift Justice with Nancy Grace has been the highest-rated first-year syndicated series this season.
The pressure on CNN’s new primetime anchor Piers Morgan to deliver ratings can’t be bigger – according to preliminary Nielsen estimates, 2010 will mark CNN’s lowest rated year since at least 1997 in total viewers and the target demographic of adults 25-54 after the beleaguered news network posted steep double-digit year-to-year declines. More bad news for new CNN chief Ken Jautz: In 2010, MSNBC will beat CNN in primetime for the first time ever in total viewers and for the second consecutive year in adults 25-54. (MSNBC will also log its first ever demo victory over CNN in total day.) Overall, Fox News Channel was once again head and shoulders above the cable news competition, drawing more viewers than its three competitors, CNN, MSNBC and HLN, combined. With its established programs sliding and new shows, most recently Parker Spitzer, fizzling, CNN posted the sharpest ratings declines, down 34% in prime time from 2009. Its sibling network HLN was also deep in the double-digit drop area while Fox News and MSNBC posted modest single-digit declines. Here are the numbers:
Nielsen Media Research (Live+SD)
Some 7.1 million viewers tuned into Fox News at 8 PM last night to watch the last trapped Chilean miner, Luis Urzua, making it safely to the surface. That was not only the cable news channel’s largest audience in the hour this year but its biggest viewership since Election Night 2008. It more than doubled what the channel’s flagship series, The O’Reilly Factor, averages at 8 PM. Fox News not only pummeled its entire cable competition, it also beat broadcast networks NBC and Fox in the 8 PM hour. CNN also got a boost with its rescue coverage vs. the miniscule ratings it has been getting in the 8 PM slot with new talkshow Parker Spitzer. The network averaged 2.7 million viewers. That was almost 10 times what the show hosted by former New York Democratic governor Eliot Spitzer and political columnist Kathleen Parker most recently logged at 8 PM but trailed Fox News by a wide margin in the area CNN used to dominate — breaking news. MSNBC (1.1 million) was on par with what Keith Olbermann normally delivers in the 8 PM hour. Overall, Fox News’ primetime average last night was 4.9 million viewers, followed by CNN (2.4 million) and MSNBC (920,000).
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.
CNN’s Piers Morgan Vows Format And Other Changes To Beat Fox News Competition: Promises “I’m Going To Be There To Win” And “It’s Time To Kick Some Ratings Butt”
EXCLUSIVE: Piers Morgan tells us that he’s planning big changes to the Larry King Live interview slot he inherits in January. “The format, everything, will change. I’m not just going to be another man sitting in the CNN studio wearing red braces.” Morgan also promises he’ll beat his Fox News rivals (see below) — but not if he expects to do that with overexposed guests like Simon Cowell and Donald Trump or what he says is his top “get”, President Obama. The production team needs to be finalised before guests are signed, he says. Morgan tells us he hasn’t locked down his show’s executive producer yet, “though we are about to. What I would say is that there will be significant format changes, and the show will look and feel different and distinctive to Larry’s. I don’t want to copy him because he’s a legend. You don’t follow Sinatra at the Sands and try and warble My Way…”
The show will be mostly filmed in New York apart from 3 months in the summer when Morgan is in Los Angeles judging America’s Got Talent. He notes, “One key change will definitely be that I will pre-tape many of the interviews so I can market and promote them in advance of them airing, which I believe will increase ratings. I’ve done this very successfully with my Life Stories series in the UK, with subjects as diverse as Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Simon Cowell, and Richard Branson.”
Morgan also tells us his mission is to help boost CNN’s sagging primetime line-up against Fox News, MSNBC, and other rivals. Larry King Live scored its lowest monthly viewer total in nearly 20 years in May, averaging just 653,000 viewers each night. And, last week, CNN underwent a management shakeup. CNN overall is a ratings mess right now and getting its clock cleaned by Fox News. So the older cable news channel brought in the guy who talent-scouted Glenn Beck, Nancy Grace, and Joy Behar to fix it, HLN’s Ken Jautz. The TV world has changed since Larry King first began interviewing 25 years ago, says Morgan, noting that back then there wasn’t any Fox News or even MSNBC. Since then, there’s been an explosion in cable TV with rapid-fire hosts like Glenn Beck who don’t do long interviews with newsmakers. “Don’t get me wrong, they’re great at what they do,” says Morgan. “But I think there’s a gap in the market. For years, Larry King has shown the power of the extended interview, which is something I’ve specialised in with my British talk shows. When it comes to my rivals, however long it takes, I’m going to be there to win.” Morgan says, “The main message I want to communicate is that I intend this show to be a game-changer in terms of how interview shows are conducted on American TV. And I haven’t joined CNN to come 2nd, 3rd, or 4th.
“America’s Got Talent has been the No. 1 show for five years, Britain’s Got Talent has been No. 1 in the UK for four years, Life Stories is the No. 1 talk show in the UK, and I won Celebrity Apprentice. Losing is not really something I’ve either experienced on TV, or wish to experience. A character trait hardened by my time working for the likes of Rupert Murdoch and Simon Cowell. It will take time, but we’ll get there.”
Another headache for new CNN topper Ken Jautz: the embattled news cable network’s latest primetime offering Parker Spitzer trailed the competition at 8 PM in its debut last night. That’s the one-hour show on CNN hosted by former New York Democratic governor Eliot Spitzer and political columnist Kathleen Parker. It drew 454,000 viewers, 118,000 of them in the 25-54 demographic, finishing No.4 behind HLN’s Nancy Grace (468,000 total viewers, 149,000 in adults 25-54), MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann (1,225,000, 329,000 in 25-54) and time slot leader, Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor (3,112,000, 722,000 in 25-54). Parker Spitzer also dropped from its anemic 7 PM lead-in John King USA (742,000 total viewers, 101,000 in 25-54. Ironically, Parker Spitzer was down 8% in total viewers and 26% in the demo from the September averages for Rick Sanchez’s Rick’s List, which was filling in at 8 PM.
CNN is a ratings mess right now, and the cable news channel is bringing in the guy who talent-scouted Glenn Beck, Nancy Grace, and Joy Behar to fix it. It’s getting its clocked cleaned by Fox News, and TPTB finally are doing something about it. But is it too late? CNN today announced that 6-year president Jonathan Klein is being replaced by sister channel HLN’s Ken Jautz, who now becomes the EVP of CNN/U.S. At one time known as Headline News, HLN is now the scandal channel — and ratings have surged. What this portends for bland and boring CNN I don’t even wanna predict. Chief marketer Scot Safon will take over HLN.
A day after Larry King officially announced he will leave his CNN primetime talk show after 25 years, we hear the cable news network is in talks with Joy Behar to replace him. Behar has been one of the strongest internal candidates to succeed King. Her The Joy Behar Show on HLN (formerly known as CNN Headlline News and CNN2) has been the brightest spot on CNN’s mostly grim ratings report. It had the most growth of any primetime CNN show in Q2 among total viewers, up +39%. For comparison, CNN top anchor Anderson Cooper’s ratings were down -30%, King’s down -37%. Behar was also a regular fill-in for King on his show, a stint that led to her getting her own show on HLN.
A deal with Behar would go against King’s wishes. On his show last night, the veteran interviewer reiterated his support for Seacrest as his successor. “He’s curious, he’s interesting, he’s likable,” King said of the American Idol host. “If he has a great interest in politics, I would recommend him. But I’m sure there’s a ton of people who could do it. Come on, it’s Q&A.” Among those people is America’s Got Talent judge Piers Morgan who, according to British papers, had been in talks for King’s job. CBS Evening News host Katie Couric’s name also has been part of the mix, with conflicting reports on whether she is interested or not. …
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'Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes' took the top spot at the box office again holding off a trio of newcomers, Netflix's second-quarter earnings come after the market closes today, JJ Abrams' latest 'Star Wars' video hits the web just in time for Comic-Con.
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