Chris Wallace debuted his highly promoted CNN program on Sunday. Unfortunately for him, no one watched.
CNN rebooted “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace” after torpedoing of CNN+ to air weekly at 7 pm. The program averaged 401,000 viewers for its debut, down 29% from the 2022 average for the time slot.
Wallace tanked most among viewers under 70 years old. He drew just 44,000 viewers in the advertiser-coveted demographic of 25 to 54 — that’s a 64% decline for the hour.
Wallace debuted with singer Shania Twain, with whom he sang along during the episode. To be fair, he’s not a bad singer.
But why is Wallace singing on-air, you might ask? He says he wants to rebrand himself as more than just a political anchor. He plans to show his warmer side on CNN.
Do you want to see a warmer Chris Wallace?
While a talented interviewer, there’s minimal market demand for Wallace.
Conservative viewers don’t like him after he openly shilled for Joe Biden as he moderated the 2020 presidential debate.
Meanwhile, he annoys liberal viewers because he’s an older white guy. The Left doesn’t like white guys, particularly older ones.
You are on the clock, Wolf Blitzer.
That said, new CNN CEO Chris Licht had to find some semblance of a role for Wallace. Former management under Jeff Zucker hired Wallace in 2020 to front the now-defunct CNN+. The network had already signed Wallace to a multi-year contract at a salary of over $6 million a year by the time Licht arrived in May.
Shedding that contract was hardly an option, as it was for Brian Stelter and Jefferey Toobin, both of whom CNN recently fired.
For now, CNN’s plans are as follows:
Don Lemon in the morning, Brianna Keilar in the afternoon, Jake Tapper and Anderson Cooper in primetime, and Jim Acosta and Chris Wallace on the weekend.
CNN might never average a million viewers again.