Tuesday, March 30, 2010

CNN Prime Time Ratings Continue to Plummet

Larry King during a videotaping of his Larry K...Image via Wikipedia
CNN ("Catastrophic News Numbers") has followed up its grim 4th quarter prime-time progamming ratings (see "TUOL" post 12/17/09) with an even more diminished audience, according to 1st quarter 2010 ratings figures reported in today's New York Times.

The Times story reports that in February, not only was CNN's prime time slate bested by MSNBC and Fox News, but also finished behind its own HLN network and CNBC, which received a boost from the Winter Olympics.  CNN personalities took it on the chin, with Larry King's audience down 43 percent for the quarter. King has a quarter of the viewership of Fox's Sean Hanity, routinely  loses to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, and even is getting thumped by HLN's relative newcomer, Joy Behar.

The news isn't much brighter for Anderson Cooper, whose ratings dropped 42 percent in the first quarter, and more important, 46 percent among the 25- to 54-year-old viewer demographic that advertisers crave.  CNN's Campbell Brown's 8 p.m. program had its worst results ever in the 1st quarter among this viewer group.

Even CNN's previous morning dominance was overturned, with MSNBC's  caffeine-crazed "Morning Joe" beating CNN's "American Morning" telecast.  Meanwhile, Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck and Greta Van Susteren all enjoyed a substantial ratings boost compared to the previous year's figures.

Might be time for CNN to ship Larry King's suspenders to the Smithsonian and stop dazzling itself with computer graphics and refocus its attention on content and personalities who can deliver it.

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