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CNN’s Morning Show is a Disaster

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If you don’t consider CNN’s post-Trump iteration a disaster, you at least have to admit its morning show is one. Meanwhile, if you’ve used the word “disaster” to describe CNN these days, you will have to find another word for New Day.

CNN has changed New Day‘s cast four times in eight years. Each time, the results get worse. The latest lineup, which features Brianna Keilar, is a new low. And that’s saying something, considering CNN viewers used to wake up to Chris Cuomo.

Last week, New Day recorded its lowest average in the 25-54 demographic since 2014. From July 5-11, New Day averaged just 76,000 viewers in the coveted category. 76,000. That’s below Hallmark and Nick at Nite.

To be clear, New Day‘s struggles are not merely a result of CNN’s fall since President Joe Biden took office. As I pointed out yesterday, CNN is holding up well overall in the key demo compared to MSNBC. New Day, however, is not. Fox & Friends and Morning Joe are killing New Day so badly in both ratings categories that CNN may want to trade problems with ESPN for a day.

Here’s how New Day compared to Fox & Friends and Morning Joe last week, based on data from Nielsen Media Research:

25-54 demographic:

  1. Fox & Friends, 203,000 viewers
  2. Morning Joe, 116,000
  3. New Day, 76,000

Total viewership:

  1. Fox & Friends, 1.1 million viewers
  2. Morning Joe, 892,000
  3. New Day, 433,000

It’s been 11 weeks since New Day drew over 500,000 viewers in a day. Is 52 the magic number?

CNN may not have a single personality who can save its morning show. However, if it does, it’s not Keilar. CNN moved Keilar to mornings earlier this year after Alisyn Camerota slid to afternoons. New Day‘s numbers dropped instantly upon Keilar’s arrival.

From the start, Keilar was a bad fit for a morning show. Morning TV — whether news, entertainment, or sports — must include elements of fun. Even Americans don’t want to wake up in a bad mood every day. Just some days. Matt Lauer, Robin Roberts, Michael Strahan, and Joe Scarborough all have a serious side, but they blend it with humor and likability.

However, like their predecessors, New Day co-hosts Keilar and John Berman are always mad on air. Keilar often spends her morning air time feigning outrage about Tucker Carlson’s monologue from the night before.

As I argued last month, CNN cannot replace Donald Trump with Tucker Carlson as the villain du jour. Villainizing a competing host in an attempt to reinvigorate the ire of the anti-Trump audience is flawed. Although Carlson is the biggest draw on TV, he didn’t receive 74 million votes in November. Sports talk didn’t replace Michael Jordan with Tony Kornheiser. They at least tried to fill the hole with another basketball player. Ron DeSantis isn’t Trump, but he’d be a better target for a cable news channel than a cable news host. But New Day hasn’t made DeSantis its primary target. It’s sticking with Carlson for now. Hence the putrid numbers last week.

To resurrect the moribund New Day program, CNN may need to hire from the outside the network, as Fox News did with Will Cain, who now co-hosts Fox & Friends on Saturday and Sunday. My advice to CNN: don’t hire another angry lib. Look for a mildly tame one. I hear they are out there somewhere.

CNN president Jeff Zucker knows morning TV as well as anyone. He oversaw Today at the heights of its popularity. Yet, he can’t seem to remember what made Today so successful. What a shame. 

Are we sure 76,000 humans between the ages 25-54 watched New Day last week? Find me those 76,000 people. I’m not convinced they exist in this world.

Follow Bobby Burack on Twitter.

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack covers media, politics, and sports at OutKick.

9 Comments

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  1. If their primary concern was ratings they’d hire a conservative crew and challenge Fox. But they don’t. Their first objective is to bolster Democrats, THEN worry about ratings. Sad but true. And you’re right- she is an angry, sourpuss scold who is cringeworthy and unwatchable.

  2. CNN’s mission is to propagate the DNC messaging. That’s it. Create content and spew it into the ether. They have tied their wagon to the Democrat party. They are just part of the larger machine at this point. At some point, advertisers will start to bail, if they have not already.

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