Videos by OutKick
Don Lemon’s catfight with his female colleagues spotlighted CNN during the month of February. Perhaps that’s a positive. The alternative storyline is dim.
Last month, the network drew a historically small audience among the advertiser-coveted demographic of adults ages 25-54.
CNN saw its lowest-rated month in the category since May 2012. Barack Obama was serving his first term at that time.
February culminated with CNN’s third lowest-rated month since the beginning of 2001. George W. Bush was serving his first term at that time.
Hosts Anderson Cooper, Jake Tapper, and Wolf Blitzer each recorded their lowest months since 2014.
The flagship 9 pm program, “CNN Tonight,” tanked to its smallest audience on record. The network continues to rotate hosts during the hour as it ponders replacement options for Chris Cuomo, whom CNN fired in 2021.
Laura Coates, the most frequent 9 pm guest host, is not the answer. If CNN has not yet concluded.
In February, TBS, USA, Food Network, HGTV, TLC, Bravo, A&E, Discovery, Comedy Central, History, FX, Investigation Discovery, AMC, Hallmark, MTV, and FXX all had larger primetime audiences than CNN in the demo.
CNN lost to Hallmark in primetime. And word is stay-at-home moms are tired of hogging the television by night time.
The Don Lemon drama was ideal for internet fodder. He called women over the age of 40 used goods. Shortly thereafter, Lemon was sentenced to “formal training” for his crime.
Yet the Mean Girls reenactment didn’t translate to viewership.
Lemon’s “CNN This Morning” finished 36th in cable news during the month. Lemon sunk the time slot to an average on par with the lowest in the history of morning television.
What’s particularly concerning is that CNN no longer experiences its signature spikes during times of heavy news coverage. As we explained in a recent column, CNN was once the go-to for drive-by viewers:
Historically, CNN has experienced more extensive increases than its cable news competitors during notable news periods. No network benefits more from hurricane season than CNN, as any industry guru would say.
The network may not top Fox News or MSNBC during these periods, but it records more significant gains: see its record ratings during the aftermath of Jan. 6.
The large increases suggested CNN attracted casual news viewers, those who turn to cable news during only heightened news cycles. It was as if infrequent consumers still viewed CNN as the news-first operation, the go-to outlet for breaking news.
The case no more.
CNN set lows in 2022, a year that featured the highly consequential midterm elections. The year also consisted of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, a raid at Mar-a-Lago, and a war between Ukraine and Russia.
Lows that the network reset in February, the month in which Biden delivered a State of the Union Address, Chinese spy balloons appeared across our nation, and racial hysteria reignited following the release of the Tyre Nichols’ bodycam footage.
The latter of which CNN used to inflame the hypothesis that white supremacy plagues America. Based on the ratings, viewers didn’t buy said narrative.
Nor did we:
The diagnosis is that CNN is without a substantial market demand.
Staunch liberals get their fix elsewhere, be it MSNBC or the broadcast news networks. CNN alienated conservative viewers long ago. They plan not to return.
And those seeking the truth certainly aren’t turning to a network that employs Don Lemon, Jim Acosta, and former Angry Morning Lady, Brianna Keilar.
CNN hosted a literal lobbyist for Norfolk Southern to discuss East Palestine last month, without disclosure.
Left, right, or in the middle — no one is rushing to CNN for their dose of the news.
But a diagnosis is simple. Finding a solution is not.
CNN lacks a signature personality. It sans a host viewers seek out for their spin or insight.
None of news’ biggest stars broadcasts on CNN. Tucker Carlson, Rachel Maddow, Megyn Kelly, Ben Shapiro, Sean Hannity, Joe Scarborough, Jesse Watters, David Muir, and Robin Roberts are all elsewhere.
Hence why CNN hopes to sign deals with Charles Barkley and Gayle King. The duo would give the channel star power, at least in the short term as it searches for an identity.
What purpose does CNN serve? No one, including new management, has the answer.
The former gold standard of news channels is now with the least amount of value. The industry and interest have passed it by.
Slow deaths are painful. They include excruciating pain, like airing Don Lemon in the early hours of the day.