Q2 2012 Ratings: CNN Has Lowest-Rated Primetime Quarter Since 1991


By Merrill Knox Comment

CNN continued to struggle during the second quarter of 2012. The network had its lowest-rated quarter in 21 years (since 1991) in primetime, and in 11 years (since 2001) in Total Day.

The ratings for Q2 2012:

  • Primetime (Mon-Sun): 446,000 Total Viewers / 129,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 319,000 Total Viewers / 95,000 A25-54

In Total Day, the network is down -35% in Total Viewers and -45% in the A25-54 demo. In primetime, CNN is down -35% in Total Viewers and -41% in the demographic. It is worth noting that Q2 2011 had several notable news events that boosted cable news ratings, including the death of Osama Bin Laden and the Royal Wedding.

Erin Burnett OutFront” is down -33% in Total Viewers and -45% in the demo since last year, when John King was the 7pmET anchor. “Anderson Cooper 360″ at 8pmET is down -19% in Total Viewers and -23% in the demo compared to last year, when “In the Arena with Eliot Spitzer” aired in the timeslot. “Piers Morgan Tonight” is down -29% and -33%, respectively.

There is some good news for CNN in the form of monthly ratings. Compared to May 2012, which marked a 20-year ratings low for the network, CNN has grown +8% in Total Day and +6% in M-F primetime in June. Individual primetime programs have grown among younger viewers: Burnett’s program is up +24%, while Cooper’s is up +5% and Morgan is up +9% for the month.