“The Trends Here Are Really, Really Good”

By SteveK 

It may not get all the press of the 8pmET battle between Bill O’Reilly and Keith Olbermann (or get nearly as personal) but the ratings contest at 10pmET between FNC and CNN is heating up. Anderson Cooper 360 has beaten On The Record with Greta Van Susteren for the second straight quarter, while Van Susteren still takes the win in Total Viewers.

AC360 EP David Doss tells TVNewser, “[Viewers] are looking for us to give them not just what happened but why does it happen. I’m really pleased with the results of these last two quarters.”

But Doss doesn’t see the FNC program as direct competition. “Are we on at the same time? Yes. Do we want to win? Of course we do. Does she want to win? Yes. But it’s apples and oranges,” Doss says. “We’re a news program — that is not a news program. It’s missing-person-of-the-day. There’s an audience for that, but it’s not what we do. We’re covering the world, not just covering who’s missing today.”

AC360 has also benefited from an abundance of political coverage. With the six primary nights taken out of the second quarter average, Van Susteren edges Cooper in the A25-54 demo by 2,000 viewers (On The Record did air on two of those six primary nights as well, and was outperformed by AC360).

> Update: A Fox News spokesperson tells TVNewser: “A top story on the AC 360 blog right now is titled, ‘Missing 12-Year-Old Girl — ‘Stranger Danger’ doesn’t help.’ Enough said. The level of Doss’ hypocrisy is staggering — way to ‘Keep Them Honest’, fellas…” The spokesperson also says Cooper has covered, “an array of crime stories such as Joe Horn and the pregnant soldier’s suspicious death, not to mention polygamy ad nauseam.”

And Doss continues the full court press for younger viewers…

The show’s Website was recently redesigned on CNN.com, and Cooper blogs regularly, including during the show, something Van Susteren does as well. The show also produces a popular podcast.

Doss describes his anchorman using a term you may be hearing a lot of on CNN: “He’s kind of tapped into an independent sensibility, tapped into the sensibility that people don’t want to be told how to think and want to be able to make up their own minds.

“He’s the newsman of today and tomorrow,” said Doss. “The trends are not good over there, but what’s really important is that the trends here are really, really good.”