CNN CEO Chris Licht must be thinking of Donald Trump, “I wish I knew how to quit you.” Licht has been trying and failing to turn around the troubled, little-watched news network, but so far has had little success as ratings continue to dwell in the cellar.
Enter Former President Donald Trump, and BOOM—the ratings go through the roof and CNN beats rivals Fox News and MSNBC for the first time in seemingly ever. The numbers were yuge:
Donald Trump’s town hall boosted CNN’s ratings to their highest in years, bringing in 3.3 million viewers in his 8pm slot last night.
The audience was double that of Fox and MSNBC in the same hour, and makes a mockery of the 473,000 average CNN pulled in in March this year.
In the key demographic of 25-54, the ratings increased to 781,000 – five times the average.
Most if not all of the coverage in the lamestream press was fiercely negative with multiple outlets accusing the former president of lying, bullying moderator Kaitlan Collins, and just being Trump. (I personally thought as many did that Collins interrupted Trump more than he interrupted her. She literally wouldn’t let him finish half his sentences.) The Los Angeles Times, for instance, begrudgingly admitted that the ratings were big, but also had to point out in their headline that there were detractors: “CNN’s Trump town hall nabs 3.3 million viewers amid brutal criticism.”
What they don’t point out, however, was that there was also widespread praise, and many thought Trump had some fascinating points about the disastrous direction this country has taken under President Joe Biden’s “leadership.”
The broadcast did well with young people, reaching more than 780,000 viewers in the critical 25 to 45-year-old advertising demo, which is more than four times the average during the network’s usual Anderson Cooper show during the hour. Not only that, shows in the 9-11 pm primetime hours also saw significant boosts in viewership.
Compare those numbers with the dismal performance of the heavily-hyped March special on CNN called “Jill Biden Abroad.” Only 368,000 people tuned in for that sleepfest, and it was CNN’s worst weekday performance at 9 p.m. since June 17, 2022 (excluding some major holidays).
Liberal zealots like Keith Olbermann laughably tried to claim the town hall was a ratings failure, and that “they sold their soul”:
BREAKING: Trump Town Hall was a ratings failure for @CNN
Just 700k in ad demo.
Sold their soul for nothing.
Can't wait to see the quarter-hours to see the decline on this, and what the "post-game" numbers were. pic.twitter.com/adIAUHYgcJ
— Keith Olbermann↙️ (@KeithOlbermann) May 11, 2023
Keith, they tripled their normal ratings—how on earth can that be considered a failure?
I suspect that Licht may not last long at CNN—nothing he has tried has worked, including the firings of toxic hosts like Don Lemon, reshuffling prime time lineups (Kaitlan Collins is rumored to be getting her own nightly show soon), and an attempt at delivering more “straight news.” Ratings have continued to be terrible and fell 61 percent in March alone.
Ratings have been terrible —with the exception of this Trump town hall. But while Licht can enjoy high ratings for one night, critics are howling that he dared give a platform to Orange Man Bad, and staffers at the leftist network were reported to be infuriated.
One thing is for sure, however—love Trump or hate him, he is still must-watch TV for millions.