America reacted with a disinterested shrug this weekend as Symone Sanders, who fled the strife of Vice President Kamala Harris’s office, debuted her new show on MSNBC.
Sanders had been a senior adviser and press secretary for Harris until she left the vice president’s office in December – part of a flood of staffers who left Harris behind.
MSNBC signed her to a deal — much as it has outgoing White House press secretary Jen Psaki — with a show titled “Symone.” Psaki’s MSNBC debut is not expected for several weeks.
Sanders’ debut in the 4 p.m. Saturday time slot featured an interview with first lady Jill Biden.
Viewers yawned at the prospect, however, with the New York Post proclaiming the show a “ratings flop.”
According to AdWeek, Sanders drew an estimated 361,000 viewers, placing her dead last in the cable news network horserace. Fox News attracted 842,000 viewers in the same time slot. Even embattled CNN beat out Sanders, with 426,000 viewers.
361,000 total viewers…yikes…https://t.co/SYzcGsbzey
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) May 12, 2022
Advertisers covet the 25-54 age group, few of whom had any interest at all in whatever Sanders was talking about.
Her show drew only 29,000 viewers in that age group, to again place last. During that same time slot, Fox News drew 163,000 viewers in that age bracket, while CNN attracted 73,000 viewers between 25 and 54.
In short, it was such a dismal showing that The Washington Free Beacon headlined its report: “KAMALA’S CURSE: Ex-Harris Aide’s TV Show Tanks.”
The dismal number in the 25-54 demographic comes even as Sanders said she is tuned into what younger viewers want, according to The Hill.
“I’m a millennial, and the only reason, frankly, I was turning on the TV was because of the job that I worked,” the 32-year-old said in an interview before the show’s debut.
“When I wake up in the morning, I’m checking Twitter, I’m checking Instagram, I check my email, I check my text messages, and I would not turn on the TV … and then the first time I see a television that’s on is when I walk into my office,” Sanders said.
— Symone D. Sanders (@SymoneDSanders) May 8, 2022
“So my show is going to reach people like me: young people who are engaged, who are paying attention, who care, but who may not be watching TV as regularly,” she said.
Symone Sanders’ new MSNBC show flops in debut — should Jen Psaki be worried?
— SCW (@SCWOFTX) May 12, 2022
For now, Sanders is on MSNBC on Saturdays and Sundays at 4 p.m. She also will host a show Mondays and Tuesdays on Peacock, NBC’s streaming service.
The former Harris staffer, who was national press secretary for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, said she is unique among the hosts of all the shows from which viewers can choose.
“There’s no one on television right now that has the insight that I have,” Sanders said.
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