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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ratings For The Week of May 4, 2009

Ratings for the week May 4, 2009 - May 8, 2009

Adults 25-54
Adults 25-54
Adults 25-54

Your look at the Adults 25-54 ratings for the week, finds that 8PM doesn't have much new. MSNBC takes the second average ratings for the week. HLN is close behind in third and CNN trails in fourth.

During the 9PM hour, CNN took second place three nights out five (with Larry King interviewing ladies from the View all week) and ends up edging out MSNBC for the overall average weekly rating. HLN comes in fourth.

10PM is close race. HLN comes out on top with a second place finish. CNN had a downhill slide last week starting out in second place on Monday and Tuesday, then third on Wednesday, and fourth on both Thursday and Friday. The mixed bag of ratings puts them in third place. Fourth place goes to MSNBC.

^ Courtesy Nielsen Media Research; Demographics where noted; Live + Same Day (LS) Fast Track Nationals.

And here are a few of the ratings related articles for the week:

The first is by Jon Fine over at Business Week:

In prime time it's not enough to lean on CNN's advantages: your bigger reporting staff and middle-course sensibilities. Those help when viewers hunger for continuous coverage of big breaking events or for ongoing stories like last year's election. They don't help much right now. Changing realities require changing tactics. Your opponents have staked their evening programs--successfully--on pugilism, not punctiliousness.

It's time to embrace a new prime-time ethos for CNN, which encompasses the bona fides of the brand CNN and the fact that, like it or not, on-screen combat is good TV. No, CNN should not suddenly solely air food fights, though a little food fight never hurt anyone. No, CNN should not dive madly toward some new and overt point of view. No, don't bring back Crossfire. (Pace blogger Mickey Kaus, who has suggested that.) Rather: Remake Crossfire. Make prime-time CNN the place for vigorous debate. (You can add the word "respectful" to the description if you feel the need.) The venue for intellectual combat. Two, or more, viewpoints enter an arena; one comes out the victor.

I know: CNN was healthy enough last year to throw off around $500 million in profit, and you guys take pride in being the financially strongest news joint around. I know much institutional ego is wrapped up in CNN laying claim to a sober take on the news. (Here's where I mention Lou Dobbs' loud opinions; here's where CNN execs shift uncomfortably.) The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times show that capital-J journalistic outlets can sling some serious smack-talk--on their op-ed pages, at least.

The election may have come and gone, but the issues haven't. One new-style debate show--or more--can capitalize on the national conversation regarding the government's new roles in the economy and business. You can do this and subtly elevate your brand above all else: CNN is the place for debate, not the place for argument. (You can claim in on-air promos, if you feel you need to drape gravitas around this new idea, that CNN is honoring a robust American tradition going back to Lincoln-Douglas. Or something like that.) And a healthy on-air argument spawns online clips, which, while not especially monetizable yet, bolster a brand and show it off to those who don't tune in.

This will require a remake of the political shoutfest, which has been pretty much the same for decades. A new talent stable may be required to ensure that, as CNN President Jon Klein puts it, these shows' participants don't fall into "Punch-and-Judy roles, and spit out talking points." Great. So CNN can reinvent this form and make it its own. If it doesn't, maybe the 2010 election cycle will be a barn-burner, or perhaps a bunch of really bad rainstorms this summer will rescue the ratings. Would you rather depend on your programming skills or the weather?

You can read the rest of the article here.

Next up to take a punch at CNN's ratings is Joe Flint at the Los Angeles Times:

Kay Jones, a producer on CNN's Anderson Cooper's "AC360," recently blogged on the show's website that she "deserve[s] the month of May off." Well, she might as well take it because Cooper's fan base is doing just that already.

Cooper's ratings have been in a sharp decline all year, and so far the month of May is no exception. According to Nielsen, the audience for the 10-11 p.m. hour of his show so far this month is 933,000 viewers. This is the first time he's fallen below the one-million mark since the dog days of last August. Anderson is losing almost 20% of his lead-in from Larry King and is in danger of being passed in the ratings by MSNBC's 10 p.m. repeat of "Countdown with Keith Olbermann." Since the start of 2009, Cooper has lost one-third of his audience.

CNN has invested heavily into marketing Cooper as the face of the network. The hype has never really translated into commercial success, and now that MSNBC is suddenly competitive, CNN finds itself being flanked on the right and the left.

Next up to the punching bag is Bill Carter of the NY Times.

The election of Barack Obama does not seem to have ushered in a kinder, less-polarized environment in politics — or television.

And that’s not a good break for CNN, a network whose strategy is to steer the middle course in its news coverage. CNN’s competitors have been finding more success pounding away at those poles — at least during prime time.

Since the beginning of March, CNN has fallen behind both the longtime ratings leader, Fox News Channel, which, as the voice of disaffected conservatives, again has an imposing lead, and the upstart MSNBC, which has tried to mirror Fox’s success by steering to the left.

CNN has even dipped behind its sister network HLN (formerly Headline News) on many occasions. Since the beginning of 2009, CNN has finished fourth in prime time among the cable news networks on 35 out of 84 weeknights.

The development raises an obvious question: With its rivals stoking prime time with high-octane political opinion and rant, can CNN compete effectively with a formula of news delivered more or less straight?

Executives of competitors and even some of CNN’s own staff members say recent trends suggest the answer may be no.

“The people who watch these channels are news junkies,” said Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC. “They’ve already had access to the headlines all day long on the Internet. In prime time you’ve got to stand out and make a splash.”

One veteran CNN correspondent agreed. “All of a sudden it seems a little unfashionable to be in the middle,” said the correspondent, who requested anonymity in order to speak freely about CNN’s strategy. “I think people are struggling with that.”

You can read the rest of the article on

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Anonymous said...

CNN just needs to drop the talking heads.If
they really believe that fake debate will bring
in ratings.CNN and the newspapers do not
realize people want the news like now. They
have got to pick up the pace of the prime time
shows. To much time is spent on mindless
chatter.CNN needs to learn twitter will not
bring you viewers.A good on air product is
what matters.IFC has a great cartoon called
news junkie. Check it out and tell me if it
does mot apply to CNN.If you notice MSNBC
really does not have debate in prime time and
it definitely is not working for Hardball. Why do
I get the feeling that the people who wrote
these articles are middle-aged men who think
that junk works in modern times? If CNN
wants to be radically try no more pundits in
prime time period. Bring back the intellectuals
like authors and reporters for papers and mags
and film makers who might have on a doc on
say like Pakistan recently. The formula in the
first article is why I can't watch TSR anymore.
CNN needs to face the reality that people can
have their own media now. Doing the same
thing over and over again in the last 20 yrs
is why they are in trouble. Try actually being
a 24/7 news channel and less blah blah.
People do not care what the people on the
tv think, when the question arises why do
they get to be on tv. Drop the stunts and
overanalyzing everything and drop all of
those slogans.I am suppose to be too stupid
to know what I am seeing. You must not want
me as a viewer. People are sick of the news
being a conduit to the false media and not
being controlled by a select few.

Anonymous said...

There is a great disconnect between CNN and
it;s viewers.I watch CNN for news and to find
out what is going on not infotainment.To pump
up prime time CNN needs to fix the 5-10 pm
hours and make 360 live for 2 hours again.
Please hire more producers and video editors
because your product needs to be upgraded.
There is a wide open field in cable news and
CNN just does not get it. The last people to be
giving out advice are the newspaper people.
They can not even figure out how to save

Anonymous said...

CNN can fix prime time by hiring Conor Knighton
to replace Larry King, who seems to be turning
into tabloid journalism. Cancel Lou Dobbs and
Campbell Brown and have a viewer generated
news program for 2 hours. You must engage
the public, I have notice that Nicole Lapin is
now showing up on CNN while Tony Harris is
anchoring the CNN Newsroom.Lapin gets more
responses than anyone on the blog. Take a hint
suits.I am really starting to like Roland Martin.
I just don't know where he fits in on the lineup.
I would like to see Rob Marciano or TJ Holmes
be a part of the panel with Erica and Jessica.

Anonymous said...

Since MSNBC and FNC have gone to extremes,
CNN can be the game-changer by becoming an
independent, free channel to break away from
ideology.MSNBC uses the one-on-one interview
format in prime time.I think anon 7:59 meant
the message is being controlled by a select few.
Television news needs a new model. The internet
is truly 24/7 and you do not have to put up with
the mindless chatter. The problems for CNN are
dayside as well.CNN needs a complete overhaul
and relaunch. How about a wide range of topics
every hour? Everything does not have to be
political.360 is the only show I watch on a
regular basis but there are times when I have
to turn the channel when the crime and
politics take over. There is no reason for Drew
Peterson to be a national news story. Where
is the intelligent news program where you
might actually learn something? Stop being
owned by the ideologues and tell them to
take a hike.

Anonymous said...

CNN is anything but down the middle. They use
the same talking points as the GOP.We do not
need commentary on news stories.We get it.
Unless the story can be advanced with an
interview don't bother. Stop telling me that
I am outraged.

They need to get rid of the useless hour
based on Twitter, There is backlash against
the Twitter hype. Just take a look at Mashable
and Super News. Young people do not like
Twitter, they think it is dumb. Just visit Digg.

John Roberts is being wasted on the morning
show. Give the man an evening newscast at 6.
Try all women with rotating hosts in the morn-
ing as has been talked about on this blog.

Perhaps try Roland Martin at 7. Lou Dobbs
numbers have been going down since he
started attacking Obama.Of course this means
the Situation Room would be only 2 hours and
that is not a bad thing since the ratings are
dropping off at 6.

I agree that CNN should have a viewer
generated news show.CNN should become
the first cable news channel to give the news
back to the people. Let the people submit
news items. By this I mean legit news not
the silliness on the political blogs. During
the program let viewers engage with the
reporters and anchors.No pundits or noise
allowed just an intelligent conversation with
the viewers. Yes give Anderson Cooper back
his 2 live hours of 360.

Finally, please move Larry King to weekends.
The show is going downhill along with the ratings.
CNN needs to understand that the public could
care less about Limbaugh,Palin or how the
Republicans get back power. It is misguided
news and viewers are tuning out. How much
of a wake up call do you need? Also limit
pundits to the Situation Room and State of
the Union. To make CNN a 24/7 channel again
how about running extended interviews and
stories in different categories after one repeat
of 360 for west coast viewers. Put the schedule
on for viewers to see what will be
airing until American Morning. That will get
the numbers up for Just have the
anchors and reporters do a short intro into
the story.It could also be a beautiful montage
from many of the photojournalists at CNN.

The shows on MSNBC are not that great.
It is just that CNN has some really bad shows
that are painful to watch.

Anonymous said...

How about CNN trying to be the grow up
news network and let MSNBC & FNC look
childish. Rise above the fray. The silliness
on cable news is at a breaking point.

Anonymous said...

One thing for sure this is not going to be a
good demo week for CNN. Last night was
pretty bad according to TV Newser. The
moment I saw that 360 used pundits instead
of people with knowledge of how tribunals
work I turned to Grey's Anatomy. I really do
not understand why CNN insists on giving
more face time to mindless talk and opinion.
Where is my news CNN? Will one cable news
channel please stand out from the junk that
is called news these days.

Anonymous said...

Will CNN finish fourth for the month of May?

Anonymous said...

I think CNN has to realize that 40-50 year
olds are now running the government. This is
the group associated with President Obama.
Television news in it's current form is for the
baby boomer and older. Boomer and older are
in management in cable news. They have no
idea how to relate to people 50 and under,
People 50 and under do not identify with the
boomers, they tend to relate to gen x and y.
CNN needs to really go after the audience
50 and under who are more pragmatic,likely
to speak a second language and have a huge
diversity of friends and families and culture.
Yes there are exceptions with the likes of
Spielberg,Jobs and George Lucas and others
who are fantastic and cooler boomers.
The point is CNN needs to diversify it's shows
Why is there not a news program for people
to sit down and watch with their kids? Why is
there not one hour a day devoted to the good
news and not crime and sensational news?
Where is the Saturday morning news show
for kids and tweens and teens and college
kids? America grows more diverse each day.
Television news can no longer be a one size
fits all with this person vs that person. Let's
not forget that women are now the majority
population in the United States, do not
overlook them as well.I am not saying ignore
any group of people but diversify your shows
to reflect the changing America everyday.
Since the world grows smaller and smaller
each day CNN had better start adding more
international news and culture segments.
There needs to be an eclectic mix of news
all day long on CNN and 24/7 as well.

Anonymous said...

Just saw Friday's numbers for CNN. It just
goes from bad to worst. Now CNN can not
realize that the Nancy Pelosi story is so over.
They really need to break away for the GOP.
CNN is in a complete downfall because it is
nothing but the FNC.It should be the number
4 for disrespecting it's viewers,Goodbye CNN,
you have lost me as a viewer.