CNN’s New President Off To A Rocky Ratings Start

February 27, 2013  |  

CNN’s Jeff Zucker. Photo: Patrick Mcmullan/ Press/lauersinaisipa.006/1112091721 (Sipa via AP Images)

Jeff Zucker has already achieved a level of infamy in certain circles for making the decision to take Soledad O’Brien out of the morning lineup and replace her with Chris Cuomo and evening anchor Erin Burnett. (Though it looks like Soledad is landing on her feet just fine, thank you very much.) Now he can add a ratings dip to his troubles.

Deadline Hollywood reports that the network saw a five percent decline in daytime viewers for the month of February, and a one percent decline for evening viewers, compared to January. Part of the problem could’ve been the network’s extensive coverage of the stranded cruise ship Triumph’s tug to port in Alabama on Valentine’s Day. Many questioned that decision. And there’s no more election to cover (which could explain the cruise ship bonanza.)

The year-over-year results are even worse. CNN is down 10 percent in daytime viewers compared to February 2012, and 18 percent in the evening, attracting 424,000 viewers between the hours of 8pm and 11pm this month. That said, last February’s numbers were affected by not only televised Republican presidential primary debates and the broadcast funeral for Whitney Houston.

Fox News Channel, which came in number one, pulled in 1.79 million primetime viewers on average for the month.

On a positive note, some of CNN’s programs saw ratings increases, reports TVNewser, including Erin Burnett Outfront, which was up 15 percent (an up 11 percent in the important 25-to-54 demographic) and Starting Point, O’Brien’s soon-to-be-canceled morning show, which was up 27 percent broadly and 21 percent in that key demo.

TVNewser has the CNN press release that touts the narrowing gap between its ratings and MSNBC.

Zucker assumed his role at CNN on January 20, so it’s barely been more than a month on the job. We’ll have to see what sort of impact his changes have. Will you tune in to the post-Soledad morning program?

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