He is chic, hip and after reading last weekend’s piece in The The New York Times Sunday Styles section, you might think that Chris Hayes and his show “Up w/Chris Hayes” is the best thing to hit cable TV for the hipster in-crowd since AMC’s “Mad Men.”
Hayes, the author of “Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy,” finds himself on the receiving end of a 1,400-word Times puff-piece by Alex Williams, who had a lot of good things to say about Hayes’ weekend morning show. And the premise that Hayes had arrived seems to be predicated on getting a shout-out from rocker Ted Leo at a concert in Washington, D.C.
“Mr. Hayes, the host of MSNBC’s new morning weekend political talk show, was padding around his apartment in Park Slope, Brooklyn, early the next day when e-mails started popping up from excited friends who had been at the concert,” Williams wrote. “He was getting used to surging ratings and frequent mentions on The Huffington Post. But a shout-out from Ted Leo? He had arrived.”
A show that is in its infancy couldn’t ask for better press from an outlet like the Times, but what went unmentioned is that the Times and MSNBC have a cozy relationship.
Both are currently entered into a content-sharing partnership, according to the Times corporate page. The agreement, which appears to be still in effect, as the Times travel writer Michelle Higgins was featured on MSNBC’s website as recently as June 13, went undisclosed in Williams’ piece.
Williams did recall one of Hayes’ more noteworthy highlights in recent weeks, when he said he was “uncomfortable” using the word “hero” to describe fallen U.S. soldiers, which Williams called Hayes taking “his first banana-cream pie in the food fight that is contemporary American political discourse.”
Ratings hit? Not quite.
“While MSNBC’s overall ratings dipped in May along with those of other news channels, Mr. Hayes’s program was one of the few to surge, rising about 15 percent in total viewers over MSNBC’s programming in the time slot from the previous year,” Williams wrote. “Since Dec. 26, it has been No. 1 on average in its Sunday time slot on cable news channels among viewers ages 18 to 34, according to Nielsen figures provided by the network. Despite much of the country being in bed when it is on, ‘Up’ has occasionally flirted with the ratings of prime-time programs like ‘The Rachel Maddow Show’ (hosted by Mr. Hayes’s mentor) among those 18-to-34 viewers.”
That appears to be a bit of cherry-picking from Williams, since overall Hayes is lacking the viewership numbers that might warrant a declaration that he has “arrived.” According to the Nielsen ratings for both his Saturday and his Sunday program for the second quarter, only 350,000 people tune into Chris Hayes on weekend days.
On Sundays, “Up w/Chris Hayes” ranks fourth in the time slot in total viewers — behind the Fox News Channel, CNN and HLN. On Saturdays and Sundays, he ranks third in the time slot in the 25-54 demo – the demo that actually counts in cable news.
Raw ratings for Saturday and Sunday at 8AM:
2Q’12 to date vs. 1Q’12 Saturday 8-9a, Program Name Averages P 2+ P 25-54 P 18-34 Network Period Program Days (000s) (000s) (000s) FOXN 1Q’12 FOX & FRIENDS SATURDAY _____S_ 1182 337 44 FOXN 2Q’12td FOX & FRIENDS SATURDAY _____S_ 1261 351 49 7% 4% 11% CNN 1Q’12 CNN SATURDAY MORNING _____S_ 402 136 33 CNN 2Q’12td CNN SATURDAY MORNING _____S_ 343 113 26 -15% -17% -21% MSNB 1Q’12 UP W/CHRIS HAYES _____S_ 426 157 38 MSNB 2Q’12td UP W/CHRIS HAYES _____S_ 350 138 32 -18% -12% -16% HLN 1Q’12 WEEKEND EXPRESS W/ CURRY _____S_ 296 115 17 HLN 2Q’12td WEEKEND EXPRESS W/ CURRY _____S_ 283 142 14 -4% 23% -18%
2Q’12 vs. 1Q’12 Sunday 8-9p P 2+ P 25-54 P 18-34 Network Period Program Days (000s) (000s) (000s) FOXN 1Q’12 FOX & FRIENDS SUNDAY ______S 1217 336 41 FOXN 2Q’12td FOX & FRIENDS SUNDAY ______S 1230 318 53 1% -5% 29% CNN 1Q’12 CNN SUNDAY MORNING ______S 394 150 28 CNN 2Q’12td CNN SUNDAY MORNING ______S 346 110 27 -12% -27% -4% MSNB 1Q’12 UP W/CHRIS HAYES ______S 360 137 55 MSNB 2Q’12td UP W/CHRIS HAYES ______S 322 135 48 -11% -1% -13% HLN 1Q’12 WEEKEND EXPRESS W/ CURRY ______S 335 144 24 HLN 2Q’12td WEEKEND EXPRESS W/ CURRY ______S 330 150 21 -1% 4% -13%
MSNBC’s sister, the financial cable channel CNBC, has also been on the receiving end of glowing coverage from the Times. Long-time panelist Guy Adami of CNBC’s 5 p.m. “Fast Money” program also garnered an effusive Times profile.
CNBC is entered into a sharing agreement with The New York Times. The partnership was the subject of a June 13 story from Times media reporter Brian Stelter.
But it was Times reporter Jacques Steinberg who took on the task of profiling Adami, a man’s man who has handled millions of dollars, but has recently embarked upon a triathlon:
GUY ADAMI has experienced the thrill of trading millions of dollars in precious metals in a matter of seconds on Wall Street in the 1990s, and analyzing the financial crisis each afternoon as a panelist on the live CNBC program “Fast Money.”
But he says none of those experiences compare with the rush he felt on a sun-dappled Sunday morning in late May in Red Bank, N.J., when he crossed the finish line of his first triathlon.
Adami’s program too has taken a ratings hit. “Fast Money,” which had seen some gains on CNBC when the financial collapse was front and center, began to see its ratings dip two years ago and is now currently experiencing its lowest-rated quarter since the show launched in 2006 in both total viewers and in the coveted advertising demo.