2016 All Over Again: Trump Gives Amazing Boost to CNN's Ratings - It Destroys Fox News, MSNBC
CNN has found the answer to its years-long ratings skid, but will the network follow the money or remain in the cellar in order to please the peers of its left-wing hosts?
The network absolutely obliterated its competition on a Wednesday night — years into cable news irrelevancy — when it hosted a town hall event with former President Donald Trump.
The event attracted more than 3 million viewers — or roughly the size of an average “Tucker Carlson Tonight” audience on Fox News before his firing — simply by offering a former president and leading presidential candidate for a major party a forum to speak to voters.
The event was a disaster for the network as left-wing moderator Kaitlan Collins was unable to keep her bias in check.
That didn’t earn her any points with the hacks at MSNBC and other leftists, while members of the corporate press joined conservatives in criticizing her online — albeit for different reasons.
Collins’ rude interruptions put off conservatives who had hoped to see Trump get a fair shake.
Meanwhile, her inability to adequately handle her planned ambush of the former president was what most angered the left, which hadn’t seen him on CNN since 2016.
Those who were not feigning outrage over Trump being offered a microphone lost their collective minds when the former president was allowed to speak unfettered.
But the reactions on both sides are irrelevant when we look at the numbers.
Citing early Nielsen data, Mediaite reported the CNN town hall attracted 3.1 million viewers. That number will grow when the network gets a better grasp on those who watched on varying digital streams.
But Wednesday’s 3.1 million viewers was good enough to wallop the competition on Fox News and MSNBC in both total viewers and in the 25-54 age demographic that is most sought after by advertisers.
Hosting Trump in Anderson Cooper’s 8 p.m. ET hour — Carlson’s old time slot — put CNN on top.
“Fox News Tonight” attracted a mere 1.41 million total viewers, while “All In with Chris Hayes” brought in 1.37 million viewers for MSNBC.
CNN also drew 703,000 viewers in the key demo Wednesday.
In the key 25- to 54-year-old demo, the town hall averaged 703,000, about five times higher than CNN’s typical performance at 8pm.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) May 11, 2023
On Tuesday, the night before the town hall, Cooper’s show attracted just 700,000 total sets of eyeballs.
MSNBC has pretty much cornered the far-left audience, while Fox News is struggling amid the fallout of its decision to boot Carlson from its lineup.
Therein lies a golden opportunity for CNN, which at this point has nothing to lose.
It could double down on antagonizing Trump and conservatives and maintain its credentials with the left, or it can come back to reality and treat the former president and his millions of supporters with some respect.
If the network invited Trump back frequently and dropped its tired “insurrection” and contrived racism talking points, it would benefit greatly.
Sure, Collins and her ilk would have to shed their old narratives and learn to behave like journalists.
But a pivot could bring CNN back to relevancy and keep its hosts getting paid.
After all, companies are in the business of making money.
CNN CEO Chris Licht needs to decide if his sinking ship wants to float or if the network now exists to placate the loudest voices in the Democratic Party.
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