This is probably not the news Ken Jautz wanted to get on his second day on the job as the new executive VP of CNN. The network’s third quarter ratings report contains an ignominious highlight: Anderson Cooper 360, the only primetime program that has yet to come in for an overhaul on the channel, posted its lowest tune-in ever for both total viewers (582,000) and the 25-54 demographic (180,000).
That marks a year-to-year decline of more than 40% in both measurements. And this during a quarter that, while it included the dog days of summer, also encompassed the BP oil spill and the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, two stories Cooper spent considerable time on.
Of course, Cooper’s ratings nadir lit up Twitter prompting numerous “work cut out for you” and “good luck with that” tweets. The folks at CNN must be accustomed to the incoming fire by now, but there’s something particularly biting about sarcasm in 140 characters or less.
Perhaps Piers Morgan will give Cooper a stronger lead-in when Morgan’s show bows in January. Or perhaps Cooper’s show is the next primetime hour to get a makeover.
Meanwhile, over on MSNBC, Lawrence O’Donnell’s new 10 p.m. show The Last Word opened strong yesterday (Sept. 27), actually building on its Rachel Maddow lead-in with 928,000 total viewers and 266,000 in the 25-54 demo. Of course, it’s only one broadcast. But it sure beats the alternative. Just ask Mr. Jautz.