If Rosie O’Donnell does indeed go to MSNBC, where she is in discussions to host a nightly show that would likely be a mix of interviews and opinion, she could rattle a few chairs over at CNN.
If she gets the 9 p.m. slot currently occupied by Dan Abrams’ show, she’ll be going head-to-head with Larry King Live, CNN’s top-rated show and the only contender in the 9 p.m. hour not losing viewers.
(For the month of October, Headline News’ Glenn Beck posted 18% growth year-to-year in total viewers, according to Nielsen. However, Beck’s show averaged 391,000 viewers, a fraction of the 1.4 million time-slot leader Hannity & Colmes pulled in on Fox News.)
With no ideological common ground with Alan Colmes and Sean Hannity, O’Donnell isn’t likely to siphon viewers from Fox News.
(In the October ratings book, Hannity & Colmes was down 4% in total viewers and 20% in the 25-54 demo compared to October 2006.)
King’s show, which averaged 1.01 million viewers and 295,000 in the demo for the same period was basically flat in total viewers (clocking a 1% uptick) and was up 4% in the demo.
O’Donnell had her fist conversations with MSNBC only last week and an NBC executive stressed that both sides are far from a final deal.
But if O’Donnell does land at MSNBC she could hurt King the most.
As O’Donnell has shown with her own daytime talk show (which ran from 1996-2002), she’s a more-than capable interlocutor.
And her one-year stint on The View proved that she has a talent for live television fireworks – something Fox’s Bill O’Reilly and MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann have employed to great success in the febrile climes of cable news.