Accuracy in Media

Last week I wrote about CNN’s new program, (Get to) The Point, which was billed as a one-week experiment to see if the network could improve its ratings in the 10 p.m. time slot.

CNNThe initial ratings were awful, and as the week wore on they didn’t get any better, forcing the network to make good on its promise to cancel the show if it failed to attract enough viewers.

In its one full week on the air, The Point averaged 268,000 viewers, compared to the 446,000 that the network averaged in the same time slot with repeats of Anderson Cooper’s 8 p.m. show. Even worse was the fact that the show managed to average just 77,000 viewers in the 25-54 demographic, which was down a whopping 55 percent from what Cooper’s repeats garnered during the previous week, and 46 percent below Cooper’s numbers in March.

The Point, which was led by Donny Deutsch, Margaret Hoover, ESPN columnist Rick Reilly, ESPN/NFL analyst Jason Taylor, along with a rotating fifth host each day, never found its footing.

Perhaps part of the reason the show failed was that the hosts spent more time weighing in on things like lizard people ruling the world, and vegetarians who eat bacon, than real news.

It’s pretty sad when a repeat of a program far outdraws a new live show. But it also shows how badly Zucker and his team misjudged the market for this type of program and just how hard it will be to turn around the one-time cable news leader.

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