RealClearPolitics Media Watch


June 30, 2010

Olbermann Drops In Key Demo Five Quarters In A Row

Now that CNN's Campbell Brown is out of the picture, MSNBC's star primetime host Keith Olbermann can no longer hide behind her dismal ratings. The spotlight is now shining bright on his declining ratings. Business Insider reports:

Nielsen's latest quarterly ratings reveal what seems like a troubling threat for Olbermann.

Olbermann averaged 1,059,000 total viewers in the second quarter of 2010 (March 29-June 27), down slightly from 1,159,000 during the same period a year earlier, but up slightly from the first quarter of this year (1,000,7000).

However, it is not just his total viewership that does not look good. Olbermann has been losing viewers in the coveted (age) 25-54 demo for five quarters in a row:

Keith Olbermann Quarterly Ratings -- Demo
(image source: Business Insider)

Olbermann has long been considered the titular head of MSNBC, calling the shots behind the scenes at the network. Most recently, he was suspected to be behind pulling NBC's Donny Deutsch off the air temporarily after he dared to label the 'Countdown' host as "angry".

Benzinga is reporting MSNBC is considering dropping the plummeting Olbermann for younger "emerging talent":

Sources tell me that MSNBC has tolerated the poor performance since it's well known that no one there has any control over Olbermann and by and large he calls the shots at the network and MSNBC has not had a bench of emerging talent to replace him with. Until now......former CNBC'er Dylan Ratigan was the recipient of a fawning profile in the NY Times yesterday and there's talk of whether he could be a suitable replacement for Olbermann if this trend continues. Ratigan has now moved from news to opinion and is gaining some traction in doing so, making him a good fit for primetime, the most valuable real estate in cable news.

In other news, the unabashed MSNBC host tweeted the following after learning of Larry King's retirement: "Larry King is a lovely, generous man who tried, for 8 years, to convince his bosses to hire me to be his 8 PM lead-in at CNN." Que lástima.

(Ratings Source: The Nielsen Company)

June 29, 2010

MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Ranks Last In Important 25-54 Demo

MSNBC's "Morning Joe" has consistently ranked in fourth place amongst all of the cable news morning shows (including HLN) in the 25-54 demo - the advertiser friendly demo and also the demo that consists of so-called "influentials."

MSNBC's "Morning Joe" is losing even more of that important audience - the program is down 15% for the quarter vs. the same time period last year in that demo. So, who really watches "Morning Joe"?

Headline News' Robin Meade is even giving "Morning Joe" a good run for its money.

2Q'10 vs. 2Q'09 Ratings (6-9AM)

· FOX & Friends: 999,000 in total viewers; flat; 332,000 in 25-54, up 2%

· CNN American Morning: 335,000 in total viewers, down 27% and 138,000 in 25-54, down 13%

· Morning Joe: 402,000 in total viewers - flat; 117,000 in 25-54, down -15%

· HLN: 304,000 in total viewers, up 8%; 183,00 in 25-54, up 18%

(source: The Nielsen Company)

June 25, 2010

CNN's Gay Special 'Gary & Tony' Falls Flat In Ratings

CNN's highly promoted special about a gay couple having a baby, Gary & Tony Have a Baby, tanked in the ratings, according to Nielsen. This is just another example of CNN not being able to find viewers no matter what program or special the network presents. According to Nielsen, the special averaged only 580,000 viewers with 139,000 in 25-54 and ranked in fourth place amongst all the cable news nets during that time period.

Below are the 8pm Nielsen averages:

FNC/The O'Reilly Factor: 2,925,000 viewers (729,000 in 25-54)
MSNBC/Countdown: 1,023,000 viewers (292,000 in 25-54)
HLN/Nancy Grace: 725,000 viewers (177,000 in 25-54)
CNN/Gary & Tony Have a Baby: 580,000 viewers (139,000 in 25-54)

Note: 'The O'Reilly Factor' had more viewers in the 25-54 demo than CNN had in total viewers.

(Source: Nielsen)

June 22, 2010

CNN's Oil Spill Telethon Dead Last In Ratings

CNN's Larry King hosted a telethon for the oil spill last night. It raised a total of $1.8 million.

King's telethon came in dead last among the cable channels:

FNC's O'Reilly/Hannity: 2,487,000 (612,000 in 25-54)
MSNBC's Countdown/Maddow: 1,042,000 (266,000 in 25-54)
HLN's Grace/Behar: 701,000 (186,000 in 25-54)
CNN's Larry King Live: 600,000 (198,000 in 25-54)

Here is the hourly breakdown:

8PM/ET Hour
FNC's O'Reilly Factor: 2,744,000 (636,000 in 25-54)
CNN's Larry King Live (1st hour of telethon): 547,000 (153,000 in 25-54)
MSNBC's Countdown: 1,010,000 (234,000 in 25-54)
HLN's Nancy Grace: 787,000 (208,000 in 25-54)

9PM/ET Hour
FNC's Hannity: 1,876,000 (456,000 in 25-54)
CNN's Larry King Live (2nd hour of telethon): 647,000 (237,000 in 25-54)
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow: 871,000 (224,000 in 25-54)
HLN's Joy Behar: 586,000 (140,000 in 25-54)

(source: Nielsen)

Facebook Is No Friend of Traditional, New Media

I believe my wife to be the toughest, stubbornest (and prettiest) gal alive.

If being married to me wasn't proof enough, consider the strength in her decision not to follow the wandering herds of me, I and us onto the wide-open, public spaces of Facebook.

I have typed of my utter disdain for this social-networking behemoth before, and then had to admit that I participate in this online game of peer pressure. Oh, I quit once, only to grudgingly crawl back.

Of course, my wife is a print journalist, so she is in constant training to stay plenty tough and plenty stubborn. After all, Facebook is just the latest enemy of print. Think I'm overstating that?

While on a recent vacation out West, we were sitting on a sun-drenched patio sipping wine (now I am just trying to rub it in) and an old friend of my wife's was expounding on the virtues of Facebook, and trying to convince her old buddy to join the mob.

Continue reading "Facebook Is No Friend of Traditional, New Media" »

June 17, 2010

FOX News Beats MSNBC's Anti-Tea Party 'Rise Of The New Right' Special And CNN Combined

The first number is the total viewers and second number (in parenthesis) is the demographic of adults aged 25-54.

Cable News At 7PM on Wednesday, June 16, 2010:

FNC: Fox Report: 1,502,000 (292,000)
MSNBC: Hardball with Chris Matthews ("Rise of the New Right"): 1,044,000 (282,000)
CNN: John King USA: 435,000 (191,000)

FOX News Channel beat MSNBC and CNN combined in total viewers.

(source: The Nielsen Company)

Obama's Speech Hit Its Intended Target, Stupid

On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs bunched up his panties and scolded a questioner who had the temerity to seek reaction to the criticism his boss was receiving on some unlikely cable-news outlets after his address to the nation Tuesday night.

"I appreciate the hand on the pulse of America by those who live on cable TV," Gibbs puffed. "I don't actually think that is where all of real America lives."

Gibbs did not expound on where he thought "all of real America" lived, but I hoped some light might be shed on these mysterious Americans when I came across this story atop CNN's website this morning.

Headline: "Language guru: Obama speech too 'professorial' for his target audience."

"Ah, so that's it," I thought before diving into the story. "Our president is once again making the massive mistake of confusing "real" Americans with smart Americans."

Continue reading "Obama's Speech Hit Its Intended Target, Stupid" »

June 16, 2010

FOX News Channel Beats MSNBC And CNN Combined During Obama Address

FOX News Channel was #1 during President Obama's address from the Oval Office last night, according to Nielsen Media Research. FNC beat CNN and MSNBC combined in total viewers during primetime and during the highly anticipated speech. All ratings must be attributed to Nielsen Media Research.

PRIMETIME (8:00-11:00 PM/ET)
FNC: 2,545,000 in total viewers (569,000 in 25-54)
CNN: 1,043,000 in total viewers (358,000 in 25-54)
MSNBC: 797,000 in total viewers (239,000 in 25-54)

PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS (approx. 8:01-8:18 PM/ET)
FNC: 2,880,000 in total viewers (656,000 in 25-54)
CNN: 1,234,000 in total viewers (433,000 in 25-54)
MSNBC: 1,144,000 in total viewers (230,000 in 25-54)

FOX News Channel beat CNN and MSNBC combined in total viewers during the primetime hours and President Obama's address.

NOTE: FOX News Channel's analysis of the President's address averaged 3,395,000 viewers with 877,000 in Adults 25-54.

(source: Nielsen Media Research)

Matthews Proves He Is a Chip Off the Ol' Beck

I rolled out of bed with a roaring headache, so I figure it can get no worse for me as I bang away at the big, dense rock that is cable news' evening political theatrics.

What has my morbid interest today is a looming documentary by MSNBC's Chris Matthews titled, "Rise of the New Right." It airs tonight at 7 EST.

As the title suggests Matthews will take a chilling look at the evil-doers leading the far-right side of the political spectrum, and their efforts to co-opt people's minds in the hope of making them do outlandish and sinister deeds to the country he so loves.

He'll do this, of course, by following the cable news inflammatory playbook which says very early in Chapter One that to take the steam out of the other side you must first turn up the rhetorical heat to blaring on your end, and then claim you are simply trying to cool things down by letting about 50 percent of the truth shine in. Context is forbidden.

Or you can just pitch a lighted match atop a pile of dynamite ...

Continue reading "Matthews Proves He Is a Chip Off the Ol' Beck" »

June 15, 2010

MSNBC To Give 10PM Slot To Liberal Analyst Lawrence O'Donnell

Liberal activist and political commentator Lawrence O'Donnell reportedly will get his own show on MSNBC. O'Donnell will be another edition to the network's already staunch liberal primetime lineup which includes Ed Schultz, Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow.

"Lawrence O'Donnell is an incredible talent, who our audience has gotten to know throughout the years, most recently as Keith Olbermann's principal guest host on "Countdown." It's great to have another anchor of his caliber on the network," said MSNBC president Phil Griffin in a statement. "This makes us a bigger and better network."

June 14, 2010

No Nightly Network News Broadcasts Discuss Etheridge Assault

All three nightly news broadcasts led with the oil spill. ABC's 'World News' gave the story 9 minutes of airtime, NBC's 'Nightly News' talks about the spill for 8 minutes and CBS' 'Evening News' spent a total of 11 minutes on it.

ABC 'World News' also reported about iron mining Afghanistns, passports, Kevin Costner's oil invention and Ted Kennedy.

NBC 'Nightly News' talks about flash floods, Afghanistan, Ted Kennedy, Toyota, SC-Sen and the World Cup.

CBS' 'Evening News' said Obama "rolled up his sleeves" in the Gulf, reported on Tylenol, flash floods, Jimmy Dean and the cost of oil disaster.

Summary: ABC & NBC talk about dead Ted Kennedy, however no network mentioned Rep. Etheridge's (D-NC) physical assault of a student.

Pool Report: WH's Burton Says Obama Has Power To Mandate BP Escrow Account

From the pool report upon President Obama's arrival in Mississippi:

Deputy Press Secretary Burton confirmed BP promise to contain 50,000 barrels by the end of june.

Adm. Allen said he expects BP to be containing 28,000 barrels by the end of the week. But as to what percentage of the total that is, he said we won't know til there's a tight seal.

Burton said administration is confident it has legal authority to make bp set up the escrow account.

He said that potus personally decided he wanted to do the address tomorrow from the oval office, his first oval office address.

Doubting Thomas Was Hearst's Big Mistake

I'm back, and typing in a bit of a jet-lagged haze after making the wonderful decision to try a two-week vacation through nine times zones without a computer, blackberry, or any pod-like creature in tow.

If you haven't done this lately, I highly recommend it. I predict it will be better than you remember.

Best of all, you'll find that your Facebook friends will forgive you. Actually, you'll probably find they could have cared less you were gone in the first place. Sorry.

Nope, for me it was back to basics. I got my news by reading whatever newspaper I could get my hands on. That makes me old and stubborn, I know. Just hope my Facebook friends don't find out.

And speaking of old and stubborn (OK, really, really old) ...

As I was pouring through a local newspaper one morning, I read that Helen Thomas had let fly with some antisemitic rhetoric that might have played well in Germany -- 70 years ago.

Continue reading "Doubting Thomas Was Hearst's Big Mistake" »

June 11, 2010

Sunday Show Lineup For July 13, 2010

Meet the Press: David Axelrod

Face the Nation: Govs. Crist, Barbour & Riley

This Week: Reps. Hoyer & Boehner

Fox News Sunday: Amb. Susan Rice, Carly Fiorina

State of the Union: Gov.Riley, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former Director of CBO

June 10, 2010

Exclusive: Major Garrett To Host "FOX News Sunday" On July 4th

RealClearPolitics has learned from FOX News DC Insiders that Major Garrett will be guest hosting "FOX News Sunday" on Sunday, July 4th. Garrett is the senior White House correspondent for the Fox News Channel.

Garrett, who is a well respected journalist on the White House beat, will get to show his versatility by hosting a program and moderating the "FOX News Sunday" panel.

Garrett takes the seat during a year of musical chairs with the Sunday morning shows and on the cusp of Christiane Amanpour hosting "This Week."

Though Garrett is simply filling on a holiday weekend, his peformance will invariably be seen by some as a potential audition for a shot at the host chair when Chris Wallace, now 62, decides to call it quits at some point in the future.