Jake Tapper made his long awaited debut on CNN on Monday with his new program, “The Lead,” and if the ratings are any indication, Tapper is in for a long, tough slog.
Tapper attracted 400,000 total viewers, which was down slightly from Wolf Blitzer’s numbers last Monday in the same time slot, but up significantly in the A25-54 demo with 87,000 versus 54,000 last week.
The debut, while reasonably solid, still placed a distant fourth behind the Fox News Channel (1.102M / 172K), HLN (779K / 211K) and MSNBC (479K / 100K), underscoring how much work needs to be done to make CNN competitive again.
Tapper, who CNN president Jeff Zucker called the “new face of CNN,” is a talented interviewer who has been known to grill both Republicans and Democrats alike, and certainly possesses the skills necessary to host his own program.
The question is whether or not Tapper can attract a large enough audience to help dig CNN out of its ratings hole, or will he just be another in a long line of failed experiments at the network.