CNN has Highs on Certain Nights
And the Audience takes Friday off (as do some anchors/hosts)
Easter week, which is also Spring Break in many areas of the country can really affect audience viewership and it sure did with the cable news/information channels. Some of the increases can just be fluctuations in audience, so I would not read too much into big spikes in regularly scheduled programming unless there was some kind of “event.” Both Fox News and CNN witnessed drastic fall-off of audiences on Good Friday – many anchors/hosts took the night off and so did audiences. MSNBC normally posts average numbers on that night, so their fall-off was not so noticeable. This week also presented new schedule changes on CNN and MSNBC, but I would not expect one week to reflect a trend of the new/repackaged programs. And while the week was heavy on politics, it did not have special programming such as primary or debate coverage and analysis to boost ratings.
Fox News: 546,000
Billo had a hot St. Patrick ’s Day, but it was all down hill from there including a poor repeat (in comparison to his usual weekly average performance) on Friday. Campbell Brown had a full week in her time slot of 8PM, and while concentrated heavily on politics, it is no longer coded “ELECTION CENTER.” In comparison to last week, she was down 79,000 with much due to a poor performance on Good Friday. COUNTDOWN was up a modest 24,000, but also had a weak Friday like everyone else.
Fox News: 496,000
Well, HANNITY & COLMES had an outstanding week, even with a huge audience fall-off on Friday. I tuned into their programming for just minutes to see what they were covering and could never get away from Sean Hannity on rants about the democrats, Senator Obama or his minister. So, I can only chalk it up to controversy which appealed to their kind of audience. LKL witnessed a substantial audience for his Thursday night interview with Senator Obama. At 520,000 viewers for the key demographic of Adults 25-54, you can see it was far above his week average. He was the #2 program for the night in the cable news/information competition. MSNBC offered the Dan Abrams/Dan Abrams VERDICT (honestly I see very little difference in the old Dan Abrams and Verdict, but again, it is only a small sampling). Abrams’ numbers were down slightly, but primarily due to a very weak Friday. He was never on the air on Fridays, so viewers will have to get used to not seeing “docbloc” and seeing VERDICT on Fridays.
Fox News: 401,000
Yes, we got through the week with no asterisks (*)! Everyone aired regularly scheduled programming for the week. GRETA is off 70,000 from the week before, but she also had a disaster for a Friday performance. AC360 was off an even further 121,000 viewers this week versus the week prior with Monday and Friday pulling down the average. You would think the strongest night would have been his road trip with Senator Obama (Wednesday) – and it was very good, but Thursday was the strongest night. Thursday was “Passportgate,” which broke very late in the day and had further controversy with regard to Senator Obama’s comments about his portrayal and perception of his grandmother’s “typical” actions. Props to 360 substitute anchor John King on Friday as it was a weak day for everyone, but he managed to rank third out of all cable news/information primetime 8PM-11PM programming. I can’t explain the fall-off on Monday, except maybe a lot of 360 viewers are Irish???? MSNBC, well, the first week of COUNTDOWN repeats did slightly better than most “docbloc” programming. It’s really too early to tell if there will be any impact on AC360.
And as a side note, how did “Shock and Awe” do? Slightly better than the 11PM AC360 time slot of rebroadcasts. But considering there is well discussed “Iraq fatigue” (don’t bring this up in my household!), 349,000 Adults 25-54 for its first run on Thursday was very satisfactory for in-depth programming late at night. It was re-broadcast 2X over the weekend - #1 in its time period on Saturday, and unfortunately #3 on Sunday (Easter – to be expected).
^Courtesy Nielsen Media Research; Adults 25-54, Live + Same Day (LS); Fast Track Nationals.