OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Chris Wallace may be regretting his decision to leave Fox News after being a staple there for years and jumping over to CNN, where he has yet to find much success. In fact, according to the latest Nielsen ratings, his show, “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace,” scored its lowest during the month of January in terms of overall viewers, with the final week of the month being the worst since the program launched in the spring of 2022.
For the entire month of January, “Wallace’s show averaged only 365,000 viewers. Even worse, in advertisers’ coveted 25-54 demographic, his struggling program pulled in an average of just 48,000 viewers,” the Western Journal reported.
Wallace’s show was initially scheduled for CNN+, the network’s planned subscription streaming service that flopped about a month after it was launched at the cost of some $300 million.
The Washington Examiner noted as well that on Sunday, Wallace’s program only managed to pull in around 323,000 viewers and 38,000 in the 25-54 demo.
The Western Journal added:
Wallace can’t win for losing these days, it seems. It’s not that people aren’t tuning into Sunday news programs, either. Take a gander at former Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy’s Sunday Fox News show for proof. “Sunday Night in America with Trey Gowdy” managed to garner over 1 million viewers on average in January, according to US TVDB. Gowdy also roughly doubled the number of 25-54 demographic viewers that Wallace pulled in.
Generally speaking, CNN is struggling mightily, with few of its shows really gaining much traction, including the recently revamped morning show.
“CNN just notched its lowest ratings in nine years across all its day parts for the week of Jan. 16 through Jan. 22, 2023, according to Nielsen, averaging just 444,000 viewers in primetime, 93,000 in the all-important age 25-54 news demographic and 417,000 in viewers and 80,000 in the demo for total day,” The Wrap reported on Friday. “It’s the first time since May 2014 that the network failed to reach 450,000 viewers.”
“By comparison, during the same period Fox News drew 1.4 million viewers and 176,000 in the demo while MSNBC notched 629,000 total viewers and 69,000 in the demo. In primetime, Fox News had 2 million viewers, 256,000 in the demo and MSNBC had 943,000 viewers and 91,000 in the demo,” the report continued, adding that the new morning show featuring co-stars Don Lemon, Poppy Harlow, and Kaitlin Collins is also tanking.
One insider told The Wrap that the three co-hosts also appear to be frustrated with the show’s progression after Licht hand-selected them for the gig.
“The show can’t decide strategically what exactly it is, so it’s trying to be everything which can create whiplash for a viewer when segments seem off-brand in tonality,” the insider told The Wrap. “The audience for morning news on network TV is different than the cable news audience and since we’re not gaining new viewers we definitely need to retain our legacy ones.”
CEO Chris Licht, who has made several changes, appears to have made another: According to the report, “CNN This Morning” executive producer Eric Hall was being reassigned to “CNN Tonight,” hosted by Laura Coates, “signaling that Licht is aware that the show needs to perform better,” the report said. The morning show managed to draw just 331,000 viewers, while “Fox & Friends” pulled in more than 1.2 million and “Morning Joe” some 760,000.
As for Lemon, he appears to be suffering from the same problem Wallace suffers from: The lack of an audience.
The Washington Examiner reported last week that ratings for “CNN This Morning” were the worst since Lemon joined in November after what he insisted was a “promotion” for him.
The outlet added:
During the week of Jan. 16, Nielsen data show Lemon drew an average of 408,000 total viewers, with a mere average of 87,000 viewers in the key 25-54 age demographic. The ratings struggle did not help CNN. It placed 15th overall in total day viewership — the network’s smallest delivery since 2014, according to TVNewser.
Fox News continued to dominate in the ratings last week, leading ad-supported basic cable networks in total viewers with an average of 1.39 million viewers and placing second in the key 25-54 demographic, behind ESPN, with 176,000 viewers. CNN’s liberal media rival MSNBC placed third in total day viewers with 629,000 viewers.