CNN's Ratings Collapse as a Lack of Orange Man Bad Takes Its Toll

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

With Donald Trump leaving the national scene, at least to the point of driving the news cycle, liberal networks like CNN have lost their golden goose. After years of gorging on orange man bad coverage, they are now desperately looking for their next foil, hence the latest obsession with Tucker Carlson.

But no matter how hard Brian Stelter and Don Le-mon gnash their teeth, nothing appears to be working. CNN’s ratings have collapsed, and if the drop in the key demo (24-54 year old demographic) is any indication, they’ll have some tough financial decisions to make in the near future.

This per The Daily Mail.

CNN is losing around a million viewers on average each night since President Donald Trump left office – and is down nearly 50% in the key 24-54 age group, a report said on Thursday.

The cable news channel had averaged 2.5 million prime-time viewers each night from November 4 through Inauguration Day on January 20, according to a Fox Newsanalysis of Nielsen data.

But data shows the network averaged only 1.6 million total prime-time viewers from January 21, the day after the inauguration of President Joe Biden, through March 15, according to the report.

That’s absolutely brutal. If you aren’t aware of how TV ratings work, the 24-54 age group is the golden demo that drives advertising dollars. CNN’s drop there is devastating, though they’ll never admit it publicly. Further, the network’s overall ratings are crumbling. While CNN typically always lagged Fox News and MSNBC, the gaps are expanding, and being down over one million viewers in primetime is not sustainable without some kind of restructuring of the lineup.

But it’s not just primetime that’s down. CNN’s daytime shows, some of which were marginally competitive at one point, are also seeing precipitous drops. They’ve seen a 44% decrease in the key demo. Some of this can be blamed on the typical post-election doldrums. All media are seeing some decline right now. Fox News has also seen a drop-off though shows like Tucker Carlson are only down 4-5%, not 35% in total viewership.

Regardless, it’s clear CNN has an identity problem. With Trump no longer around to drive ratings for them, they’ve been reduced to being sock puppets for Joe Biden’s administration. And to be frank, the geriatric corpse that is our current president excites no one. CNN also has a distinct lack of good on-air talent. When Chris Cuomo is one of your mainstays, there’s not a lot of quality there to milk. Meanwhile, Don Lemon’s show has become one hysterical, race-baiting rant after another. There’s nothing original, compelling, or entertaining being presented. Contrast that with how well-produced Tucker Carlson’s show is, from what he says to the topics that are covered, and you can understand why CNN’s shows languish in third in their timeslots well behind even MSNBC.

What’s CNN do long term? I have no idea. I suspect there’s a lot of stubbornness within their leadership, and no one is going to want to admit they’ve failed. Yet, these networks are businesses at the end of the day. I’d expect a line-up shake-up sooner rather than later. We’ll see.