This afternoon, CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker held a town hall meeting marking his first year on the job. This comes as ratings from the final week of his first year show CNN experienced new lows since he took over. CNN averaged 78,000 A25-54 Total Day viewers, its lowest rated week since the week of May 14, 2012, and 99,000 demo primetime viewers, the least since the week of July 30, 2012.
CNN could not capitalize on political scandals surrounding New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie. Instead, news viewers are increasingly finding safe harbor in the networks that embrace their own political views. With extensive Christie coverage MSNBC finished last week winning the hours between 7pm-Midnight in the demo. The week prior Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show finished first among younger viewers. MSNBC was up +12% in the primetime demo compared to the same week last year, while Fox News was down -8%, and CNN was down -39%.
At his town hall meeting, Zucker talked about the accomplishments of the past year, which include moving past MSNBC as the #2 cable news network, the growth of HLN, CNN.com’s best year in history and the most-honored year ever for CNN International. As the domestic network continues to experiment with daytime programming, and plans changes in primetime too, the network may see more weeks like last week until Zucker finds a few shows that consistently bring in viewers, without compromising its news bona fides.