CNN No Longer Top Dog?

May 31st, 2009 9:08 AM

Michael Calderone over at Politico has the scoop on CNN's fall from grace these days with cable news viewers. Reporting that "since Obama took office, CNN's prime-time audience had dropped sharply," Calderone gives us the grim details of CNN's struggle to keep it's audience.

The upshot of the story seems to be that CNN is being out liberaled by MSNBC. The hard-left programing of MSNBC seems to be drawing viewers away from CNN with CNN finding itself lately in the unfamiliar role of being considered the "centrist" network. This only shows how far left MSNBC truly is.

CNN is also alarmed that its top anchors, Anderson Cooper and Campbell Brown, are floundering in the ratings.

It's Cooper’s ratings that are the most troubling, say staffers, given the resources and heavy promotion for his show, and persona. For years, Klein has talked up Cooper, once famously dubbing him “the anti-anchor” and, in the aftermath of Katrina, as “a reporter [who’s] got that magical something.

But that magic may be wearing off.

Cooper dropped from 1.4 million viewers in January to 1.06 million in April, according to Nielsen. And that trend will continue in May: Cooper has yet to crack 1 million viewers this month, and even fell as low as a half-million one evening. Also while "360" is ahead of “Countdown,” the Olbermann repeat wins the 25-54 demo about half the time.

Calderone also notes that Campbell Brown's show "No Bias, No Bull" has also seen a steady drop that doesn't seem to be slowing. This makes two of CNN's heaviest hitters, Cooper and Brown, seeing an alarming drop in stats.

In fact, Brown is facing falling numbers even as Fox News' "O'Reilly Factor" and MSNBC's "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" are still gaining viewers.

Sadly, MSNBC's extremely liberal programing has been gaining on CNN.

But in March, MSNBC overtook CNN for the first time in both total prime-time viewers and the 25-54 demographic. CNN narrowly edged MSNBC in total viewers in April, but again lost the demo.

Naturally, Fox News is still ahead of them both in several categories.

Still, CNN does well on special political nights, like election night last year.

Or take election night, when CNN brought in nearly 12.3 million total viewers on, which not only easily beat MSNBC and Fox — with 5.88 and 5.13 million, respectively — combined, but also topped both NBC and CBS.

Calderone has a lot more interesting points in his Politico piece. Do go on over and read it all: CNN fades in prime-time picture.