CNN 2010: Veteran Network has Worst Primetime Performance Since at Least the Mid-90’s

By Alex Weprin Comment

2010 was not a good year for CNN. The network had its worst primetime performance in both total viewers and adults 25-54 since at least 1996, and tied (with 1999) for its lowest performance ever in adults 25-54 in total day. In primetime, the network was down an alarming 34% in both total viewers and the demo compared to 2009.

  • Primetime: 591,000 total viewers/ 173,000 A25-54
  • Total Day: 433,000 total viewers/ 133,000 A25-54

CNN’s highest rated program was “Larry King Live,” which placed 18th overall among cable news programs, averaging 672,000 total viewers and 176,000 A25-54. As has been previously reported, 2010 was King’s worst year on record for the network, though his star-studded send-off won its time period earlier this month.

The network’s number two show was “AC360,” placing 19th overall among cable news programs. “AC360” averaged 664,000 total viewers and 206,000 A25-54. That would be the program’s lowest year ever in the demo, and second-lowest ever in total viewers.

“American Morning,” which will be getting a facelift in the new year with John Roberts returning to Atlanta, had its worst year ever in both total viewers and the demo.

8 PM’s “Parker Spitzer” has so far failed to curb the ratings declines in that time period. In January, Piers Morgan will step in to take over 9 PM, the slot previously held by Larry King.

  • More details in CNN’s press release, sent Dec. 15, after the jump…

CNN Reaches 10 Million More Viewers Than Fox News and 13 Million More Than MSNBC in 2010

In 2010, CNN reached more viewers than any other cable news network, averaging 96.4 million monthly viewers — 10 million more than Fox News Channel (85.7 million) and 13 million more than MSNBC (83.3 million).[Data through Nov.]

CNN continues to demonstrate the strength of its breaking news coverage, attracting cable news’ largest P25-54 audience during the first 24 hours of the Chilean Miner Rescue and registering the most growth of any cable news network during continuing coverage of the Haiti Earthquake and BP oil spill in the Gulf.

Throughout 2010, CNN topped MSNBC in daytime non-opinion programming (9a-5p) by 71% among total viewers (502k vs. 294k) and 64% among adults 25-54 (133k vs. 81k). Each hour from 9a-4p, MSNBC ranked either fourth or fifth among its cable news competitors in the key P25-54 demographic. [Data through Dec. 12.]

CNN Heroes, an All-Star Tribute to Everyday People Changing the World, reached a cumulative audience of nearly 16 million viewers over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Traffic to CNN Heroes content on achieved more than 10.3 million page views, and more than 1.2 million video streams. (Source: Omniture SiteCatalyst, 10/04/10 – 11/28/10 and 10/05/09 – 11/29/09)