CNN Finds Itself at Bottom of Cable News Heap

By Andrew Gauthier 


CNN has gone from being the Cable News Network to being an also-ran in the increasingly competitive world of cable news. The ratings are in for October and CNN has fallen to fourth place in the primetime A25-54 demographic.

With an average of 190,000 A25-54 viewers in primetime, CNN slid behind its sister network HLN (191,000) for the month of October, with MSNBC (239,000) securing second place and Fox News (583,000) continuing to its primetime dominance.


To add insult to injury, CNN’s flagship newscast, “Anderson Cooper 360,” which commanded the top spot a year ago, was beat in the 10pm hour by not only FNC’s “On the Record with Great Van Susteren” but also by repeats of the 8pm editions of MSNBC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” and HLN’s “Nancy Grace.”

In response to the ratings announcement, a CNN spokesperson emphasized that the network measures its success beyond primetime. “As we have said for years, we measure our audience across all CNN Worldwide platforms and throughout the day, not just primetime,” the spokesperson said.

The CNN spokesperson also emphasized that the network focuses on news instead of commentary in primetime and that “ratings reflect the news environment more than opinion programming does.” CNN, though, is getting beat by more than just opinion programs. ” Fox dominates the news channel ratings in primetime, with its opinion-based programs,” Bill Carter of The New York Times points out. “But its newscasts are also far ahead of CNN programs. Its 7 p.m. show, anchored by Shepard Smith, regarded as a nonideological program, dwarfs every CNN show in prime time.”