CNN is in big trouble, and change is imminent.
Chris Licht, CNN’s relatively new CEO, continues to face challenges as the network experiences its lowest ratings in 9 years for the week of Jan 16-22, 2023.
According to Nielsen, CNN averaged 444,000 viewers in prime time, 93,000 in the important 25-54 demographic, and 417,000 in viewers and 80,000 in the demo for total day. This marks the first time since May 2014 that the network failed to reach 450,000 viewers.
In comparison, Fox News attracted 1.4 million viewers and 176,000 in the demo while MSNBC drew 629,000 viewers and 69,000 in the demo during the same period. Fox News’ prime-time viewership was 2 million with 256,000 in the demo and MSNBC had 943,000 viewers and 91,000 in the demo.
Worryingly, Licht’s flagship program, “CNN This Morning,” also saw its lowest ratings since its launch just three months ago, averaging only 331,000 viewers. Meanwhile, “Fox & Friends” drew nearly 1 million viewers and “Morning Joe” had 760,000 viewers.
According to sources close to TheWrap ”Upcoming programming changes likely to make matters worse.”
A source informed TheWrap exclusively that Eric Hall, an EP, has been transferred to “CNN Tonight” with Laura Coates, indicating Licht’s recognition of the need for improved performance. TheWrap’s sources also reported hosts Lemon, Harlow, and Collins are feeling dissatisfaction with the show’s direction
One insider went as far to say “The show can’t decide strategically what exactly it is, so it’s trying to be everything which can create whiplash for a viewer when segments seem off-brand in tonality. The audience for morning news on network TV is different than the cable news audience and since we’re not gaining new viewers we definitely need to retain our legacy ones.”
CNN plans to launch a new daytime lineup with anchor teams that aim to bring a new perspective to daytime programming through two new shows. John Berman, Kate Bolduan, and Sara Sidner will anchor a 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Eastern weekday block from CNN’s New York studios. The 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Eastern show will be hosted by Brianna Keilar, Boris Sanchez, and Jim Sciutto.
However, sources fear improvement is unlikely. “Expected programming changes are expected to worsen the situation,” one insider claimed.