Accuracy in Media

CNN, whose ratings took a brief upturn last year after Jeff Zucker took over, regressed last week with daytime ratings that hit 20-month lows.

bill clinton on piers morganFor the week, CNN averaged 78,000 A25-54 Total Day viewers, making it the lowest-rated week since the week of May 14, 2012. The news wasn’t much better in the primetime demo, with the network averaging 99,000 viewers, its lowest-rated week since July 30, 2012.

The daytime numbers must be particularly disappointing for Zucker, who has spent extensive time re-configuring the morning and afternoon programs, only to see them falter just as their predecessors did. Zucker has largely left the primetime lineup alone, though he did say earlier this year that changes will be coming. But he didn’t elaborate as to what they would be.

One change could be in the 9 p.m. slot, where Piers Morgan has been ensconced since January 2011. But lately he has been losing badly to Fox’s Megyn Kelly and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. Morgan’s contract expires at the end of the summer, providing Zucker with an opportunity to replace him as part of broader programming changes.

If Zucker wants to get CNN back on track, he should just blow up the primetime lineup and start over, instead of painting around the edges with talk of changes and minor cosmetic fixes that have done nothing for the network so far.

Zucker will need more than one year to fix the systemic problems at CNN, but his slothful-like pace so far makes me doubt that he is up to the job.

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