Accuracy in Media

After nearly three months on the air, Countdown with Keith Olbermann is showing signs of viewer fatigue.

Nielsen ratings for Countdown for the week of September 5-11 show that Olbermann averaged 142,000 total viewers with just 46,000 in the key A25-54 demo. That was a far cry from his debut week in June when the show averaged 319,000 total viewers and 114,000 in the key demo.

If Current TV executives are worried about Olbermann’s free fall in the ratings they aren’t publicly admitting it.

According to the New York Daily NewsCurrent says the low September “Countdown” numbers could be attributed to a number of factors including a repeat episode that ran on Labor Day as well as back problems that kept Olbermann off the air for five days in late August. That’s right. His late August back problems negatively affected his early September ratings when he was actually hosting the show.

In addition to these excuses the network also blamed developments in the news, from Obama’s jobs speech to the GOP debate, which may have sent viewers to other networks that cover breaking news.

That might possibly explain some of the ratings decline, but the fact remains that in general, Countdown has been trending downward since week one and isn’t building an audience as Current execeutives had hoped.

The signing of Olbermann for a reported $10 million per year is beginning to resemble CBS News’ failed experiment with Katie Couric, to whom they paid $15 million a year though she failed to move the ratings needle over the course of her five years in the anchor chair. But at least she had an audience of about six million compared to Olbermann’s 142,000.

At the rate Olbermann is going, he may soon be off the Nielsen charts altogether.





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