The stock market may be up but CNBC‘s ratings are way down. The problem is not just that CNBC viewership levels are slumping essentially across-the-board. The New York Daily News obtained Nielsen numbers showing the network’s core business programming, which airs from 6 AM to 8 PM, is down 10% in total viewers and 6% in adults 25-54 from April to April. And hard hit are marquee shows Squawk Box and Closing Bell, which are in their 4rd straight quarter of declines. According to these same Nielsen ratings obtained by the New York Daily News, from April 2011 to April 2012 Squawk Box is down 16% in total viewers and 29% in the all-important 25-54 demos. Last Tuesday, the show drew its lowest numbers of the year in total viewers — 99,000. CNBC last Friday announced the hiring of Cavuto executive producer Gary Schreier from rival Fox Business Network to helm Closing Bell which from April 2011 to April 2012 is down 16% in total viewers and 11% in the 25-54 demographic. Explanation for the problems? NYDN claims it’s more competition and less buzz from MVPs Maria Bartiromo and Andrew Ross Sorkin.
This could be a blow to The New York Times’ mergers and acquisitions coverage, even though the author of Too Big to Fail will continue to write a column there and oversee its DealBook site. Sorkin is one of the best-known and well-sourced reporters on the deal beat. But his frequent appearances on shows including MSNBC’s Morning Joe suggest that Sorkin has been bitten by the showbiz bug — and Squawk Box had an empty chair since Monday, when Carl Quintanilla left to host Squawk on the Street. Here’s the note that SVP Nik Deogun sent to the staff: