The news yesterday that Christiane Amanpour would be stepping aside from ABC’s “This Week” did not take many TV news professionals by surprise. Despite a highly-publicized launch, and a decidedly different take on the Sunday public affairs format, the program largely failed to resonate with viewers from the very start.
Amanpour debuted on ABC August 1, 2010, and that month the program finished a solid #2 behind NBC’s “Meet the Press,” before fizzling out. Over the next year and a half, the program would only occasionally dip into second place, and even then it was often in the key news demo of adults 25-54, rather than total viewers.
The highlight for Amanpour’s run came earlier this year, when the “Arab Spring” protests and the devastating tsunami in Japan became big news here in the U.S.
Amanpour’s experience as a foreign correspondent shined during those events, and led “This Week” to some of its highest ratings under her stewardship, though the program still found itself third most weeks. The most-watched “This Week” during her run came the week after Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot, though all of the Sunday shows saw large ratings bumps, and ABC’s program still placed third.
TV news veteran Rick Kaplan joined “This Week” as EP in May, but its fortunes never reversed.
With the 2012 election cycle kicking into high gear this Fall, Sunday morning TV viewers began flocking to Bob Schieffer on CBS, propelling that program into a ratings race with longtime leader “Meet the Press.” “Face the Nation” did not see a clear benefit to the increased focus on politics, and without an obvious ratings bump in sight, the writing was on the wall for Amanpour’s long-term future on the program.
More on Amanpour and her run at ABC can be found here.