August ’10 Ratings: CNN Has Lowest Primetime Viewership In 10 Years

By Alex Weprin Comment

cnn120.jpgIf the August ratings are any indication, the new primetime lineup cannot come soon enough for CNN. Primetime viewership was at its lowest since May 2000, with 8 and 9 PM being hit especially hard.

The August 2010 averages:

Total day (Mon-Sun): 381k total/117K A25-54
Prime (Mon-Sun): 486k total/144K A25-54

Every CNN program was down double digits in the afternoon when compared to the same time periods last year, with the 6 and 7 PM hours being hit especially hard. “The Situation Room” was down -32% in total viewers and -28% in the demo at 6, while “John King USA” was down -43% and -41%.

The strongest performer was the afternoon edition of “Rick’s List,” which was down -28% and -32% in total viewers, and -15% and -17% in the demo.

In primetime, Larry King was down -50% in both total viewers and the demo compared to last year. This was King’s worst month in the demo since May, 2000 and in total viewers going back to at least 1991.

The primetime “Rick’s List” was down -41% in both total viewers and the demo, while “AC360” was down -35% and -27% in total viewers and -34% and -25% in the demo at 10 and 11 PM.

The CNN press release is after the jump.



CNN: 93.3 million viewers Fox News: 83.6 million viewers MSNBC: 84.2 million viewers

CNN Digital: 35.7 million users Fox News Digital: 15.6 million users MSNBC Digital: 30.7 million users

HLN: 84.6 million viewers

Based on Monthly Unique TV Viewers in August and Latest Monthly Digital Users (July)

In August, CNN topped MSNBC during the daytime (9am-5pm) in both total viewers and the key demo 25-54 and in total day (6am-6am) among total viewers. In head-to-head comparisons with MSNBC’s daytime non-opinion programming – CNN had a 66% advantage among total viewers (439k vs. 265k) and a 41% lead among adults 25-54 (117k vs. 83k). MSNBC placed fourth every hour during the daytime in the demo 25-54, except at 4p where they placed third behind CNN’s Rick’s List. Rick’s List topped MSNBC at both 3pm and at 4pm in the demo 25-54 – with CNN outperforming MSNBC Live (122k vs. 84k) and Dylan Ratigan (126k vs. 86k). In total day among total viewers, CNN had 381k vs. MSNBC’s 378k. CNN’s AC 360 also topped MSNBC in total viewers at 10p with 559k vs. 534k.

Compared to a year ago, FNC and MSNBC’s primetime audiences are both down by double digits among adults 25-54 — with The O’Reilly Factor dropping -26% (638k vs. 866k), Countdown with Keith Olbermann is down by -25% (263k vs. 350k); at 9pm Hannity (548k vs. 732k) and Rachel Maddow (230k vs. 308k) are both down by -25%; and at 10pm On the Record is off -24% (452k vs. 594k) and Countdown declined -16% (204k vs. 244k).

Both FNC’s news and non-news programs posted substantial audience loss when comparing August to their peak in January 2010, with the network’s audience dropping off by 19-36% every hour the in the demo 25-54. FNC’s non-news program Fox and Friends was down -19%, Your World with Cavuto was down -30%, Glenn Beck was off -32%, The O’Reilly Factor declined -36%, Hannity lost -31% of its audience and On the Record was down -30%. Other double-digit demo losses included the 9a hour (-29%), 10a (-30%), 11a (-28%), Noon (-25%), 1p (-21%), and 2p (-25%). Studio B with Shep Smith at 3pm, Special Report with B. Baier at 6p and Fox Report with Shep Smith at 7p were all down -30 % compared to January.