‘New Day’ Hits Ratings Low

By Alex Weprin 

CNN’s new morning show “New Day” is still, by all accounts, a work in progress, both in terms of content and in ratings. Earlier this month the program topped all of its cable news competition in the adults 25-54 demo thanks to continued interest in the George Zimmerman trial and a pair of exclusive interviews.

With the Zimmerman trial over, the viewers that had been watching cable news have largely tuned out, and CNN has felt that moreso than Fox News or MSNBC. For “New Day,” it also meant the program hit a series low in both total and demo viewers Wednesday.

The program averaged 229,000 total viewers and 75,000 adults 25-54, placing it fourth in both categories. Since it launched June 17 “New Day” has averaged 325,000 total viewers and 119,000 A25-54, on par with what its predecessor morning programs drew. Correction: The average ratings are up double digits compared to July 2012.

The highs and lows are indicative of the challenge CNN has now that the Zimmerman trial has largely subsided. Neither the Royal Baby nor Anthony Weiner have proven to be big cable news draws, and the biggest problem facing the channel–one acknowledged by Jeff Zucker himself–is getting people to tune in when there isn’t that big story riveting the nation. “New Day” has topped “Morning Joe” in four of the past five weeks, but the Zimmerman trial is almost certainly a big part of that. The show’s real performance will become more apparent when there is a few weeks without any big news stories.

Zucker has said that “New Day” is important to the channel because “I want the day to start with a strong offering that sets the tone and the agenda for the day for the entire network.” Of course, he also said that they had modest expectations.

“We don’t expect anything on day one or week one or month one, we expect this show will find its voice over the next year.”