CNN Hits 20-Year Low in Primetime

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Jeff Zucker's first year at the helm of CNN produced mixed results for the channel. The good news for CNN comes in total day, where the network edged out MSNBC to come in second for the first time in two years. The bad news: CNN was third in primetime, posting its lowest 8-11pmET ratings in 20 years.
The ratings for 2013 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):

Primetime (Mon-Sun): 568,000 Total Viewers / 183,000 A25-54
Total Day (Mon-Sun): 413,000 Total Viewers / 131,000 A25-54

Compared to 2012, CNN was flat in total viewers and down -2% in the A25-54 demographic in total day, down the least compared to Fox News and MSNBC. In primetime, the channel was down -16% in total viewers and -18% in the A25-54 demographic. With the exception of HLN, all the cable news networks are down compared to 2012, which was a Presidential election year.

Despite the network's 20-year low in Monday to Sunday primetime, the weekday prime shows were up compared to 2012.  "Anderson Cooper 360″ is up for the year, +18% in total viewers and +19% in the A25-54 demographic. Ditto "Piers Morgan Tonight," which was up +1% in total viewers and +2% in the demo year-over-year. The 10pmET timeslot -- which may be prime territory for further experimentation in 2014 -- was up +2% and down -1%, respectively.

The major new shows launched on CNN this year were "New Day" and "Crossfire." "New Day," which debuted in June, has closed the gap with "Morning Joe" by more than half (from 80,000 viewers to 33,000 viewers) among the A25-54 demographic since its launch in June. As for "Crossfire," which debuted in September, the 6:30pmET half-hour is up +3% in total viewers and +15% in the demo compared to the same time period last year. However, both shows are down compared to the pre-launch 2013 averages: "New Day" is down -7% in total viewers and -20% in the demo, and "Crossfire" is down -23% and -20%, respectively.

As we noted in December, CNN had some of its best ratings this year in its films and original series, like "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown," which was the top regularly-scheduled weekend program on cable news in the A25-54 demographic in 2013.

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SOURCE: TV Newser - Merrill Knox
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