Accuracy in Media

Now that the world isn’t seeking up-to-the-minute news from the Middle East and Japan, cable news ratings have returned to a familiar pattern. MSNBC has reclaimed second place in the prime time ratings race from CNN, which had briefly jumped ahead of MSNBC during all the turmoil overseas.

But what’s even worse for CNN is the continued uneven performance of the Kathleen Parker-less show, In The Arena with Eliot Spitzer.

For the first four days of this past week Spitzer fell to third place twice, and on Thursday got his clock cleaned by HLN’s Nancy Grace who attracted a whopping 66,000 more viewers in the advertiser watched A25-54 demo. Even when Spitzer did manage to beat Grace he did so by margins of just 6,000 and 10,000 and averaged 113,000 viewers per show for the week versus Grace’s 134,000.

Spitzer also twice fell below the magic 100,000 viewer mark, which indicates just how weak his show really is.

CNN’s executive vice president Ken Jautz inherited the disastrous Parker Spitzer show from his predecessor. But once Parker decided to leave the show, he had a golden opportunity to dump Spitzer as well and find a better solution to compete in the 8 p.m. hour.  Instead, he kept Spitzer, who has managed to convince CNN that he can actually attract an audience and be competitive against Fox’s Bill O’Reilly and MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell. For that he has been rewarded with some of the worst ratings in prime time cable news.

Besides losing to the smaller HLN, Spitzer trails O’Donnell by a 3-1 margin on most nights in the A25-54 demo, which isn’t going to do much for CNN’s bottom line.

Jautz was considered to be a genius for what he did at HLN. But he is apparently blinded by the personalities at CNN and can’t seem to make the difficult decision to overhaul the prime time schedule in order to make the network truly competitive again.

If he keeps this up he may not have a job much longer.


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