According to Deadline.com, CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight clocked in its lowest ratings in the year it has been on cable television. The show averaged 154,000 nightly viewers in its demo in Novvember, down 4 percent from the performance of the previous show Larry King Live in the 9 PM time slot for November of 2010.
By contrast, CNN’s competitor shows MSNBC’s Ed Schultz Show and Fox News’ drew 201,000 and 258,000 average viewers in the 25 to 54 year old demographic. That means Piers Morgan Tonight is 100,000 viewers behind Fox News on any given night. Overall Fox News is at 258,000 average viewers, followed by MSNBC at 138,000, and CNN at 121,000 viewers.
(It also means, as Deadline.com pointed out, that MSNBC’s show offerings are suffering from the loss of Keith Olbermann, as ratings are down 35 percent.)
But why is CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight performing so poorly? As a regular CNN viewer, this blogger can tell you why: its overreliance on GOP guests, from the current crop of presidential candidates, to conservative blowhards like Ann Coulter. Frankly, no one cares to listen to the candidates as guests, or have their ears burned off by Coulter’s nails-on-a-blackboard scratchy voice. All the better to turn the channel.
Larry King was the master of the pop culture interview. From the Jacksons and artists like Taylor Swift, to acting legends like Robert Redford, Larry King always had guests worth tuning in to watch. Piers Morgan just doesn’t offer that kind of lineup, so ratings suffer.
Let’s hope CNN gets the message before it’s too late for Piers Morgan Tonight. Famed rock band Motley Crue’s set to make a “big announcement” on Piers’ show Thursday, but the bet here is ratings remain flat. Motley Crue’s not Pitbull, the current Latin rapper that’s making people jump in nightclubs from New York to Atlanta and San Francisco.