IT’S BEEN a tough couple of months for MSNBC, with CNN finally finding its footing through a mixture of scandal mania and breaking news stories, including the Jodi Arias verdict.
Needless to say, with the plethora of scandals surrounding the Obama administration, Fox News channel remains on top.
CNN, meanwhile, celebrated a big win over MSNBC, touting its status as the second-highest rated network in prime time for the month. It was up a whopping 85 percent in prime time on weekdays, and 61 percent in total day, compared to May 2012, when it experienced its worst ratings in 20 years. HLN did even better, with a 135 percent spike in prime time viewing. Nearly every anchor had something to crow about. Anderson Cooper, for instance, was up 99 percent in total viewers. Erin Burnett posted a 97 percent gain in the same category. There were even bigger increases in the all-important A25-54 demo.
MSNBC’s challenge is that they are so thoroughly Obama centric now, I don’t know how they “Lean Forward” in another direction without looking like sell outs. Even with Pete Williams’s great reporting on the Boston bombing, it didn’t come close to keeping them from dead last place.
Jeff Zucker was having none of the criticism that CNN didn’t correct a Boston terrorist bombing mistake on air in rapid time, when they reported an arrest had been made. Instead, opining on what people expect from CNN and, which begins with holding the network to higher standards. From the Hollywood Reporter:
Jeff Zucker inferred Wednesday that he might be willing to cede the political commentary ground to MSNBC on the left and the Fox News Channel on the right, while CNN focuses on “much more” and is “held to a higher standard.”
“We’re trying to cover the news. “¦ Our competition now is two political channels that actually has left most of the actual news coverage to the side,” said Zucker, who took over as head of CNN in November.
There is some truth to Zucker’s statement, though I don’t know if wall to wall Jodi Arias cover meets that criteria. However, the rest of the cable viewing public wants to see it and does consider it must see TV, so maybe Zucker has something. Zucker has managed to get his network to the epicenter of every “breaking” news story, leaving the political bias to MSNBC and Fox News, which seems to have worked so far.
There’s no accounting for what people want to watch, which is seen across TV and cable in bad shows that get good ratings. But if you’re in the television business if you don’t get the big demographics you’re out of the game. CNN’s back in it for now.