Despite network shift, Lou Dobbs-Larry Kudlow rivalry re-emerging

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
Font Size:

For nearly 30 years, with exception of a brief interruption from 1999 to 2001, Lou Dobbs was a fixture at CNN. But in November 2009, under extraordinary pressure from left-wing activists, Dobbs left CNN. And after a one-year hiatus from cable TV, Dobbs landed on the Fox Business Network with a show that took the same name of his CNN program “Lou Dobbs Tonight.”

Similarly, Larry Kudlow has been a long-time fixture at the financial cable news network CNBC for more than a decade. In 2005, when “Kudlow & Cramer” co-host Jim Cramer departed for his own show “Mad Money,” Kudlow became the lone host of “Kudlow & Company,” which was later renamed “The Kudlow Report.”

Late in his time at CNN, Dobbs found himself going head-to-head with Kudlow during the 7 p.m. And early in 2009 on the eve of President Barack Obama’s inauguration, Dobbs’ intentionally took some shots at Kudlow for his participation in a dinner meeting of conservative pundits at the home of Washington Post columnist George Will on Jan. 13, 2009.

After departing CNN later that year, Dobbs apparently made amends with Kudlow and even appeared on his show a few times before permanently landing at Fox Business.

Now the two find themselves going head-to-head once again, as they did prior to late 2009, but the roles have been reversed. Whereas Kudlow was the underdog in their head-to-head match-up of CNBC versus CNN, Dobbs is now the underdog in their head-to-head CNBC-FBN match-up. FBN is still in relative infancy compared to the long-established CNBC.

But Dobbs is making headway in the 7 p.m. rivalry. For one week in April, FBN’s “Lou Dobbs Tonight” topped “The Kudlow Report” with an average of 154,000 viewers nightly compared to CNBC’s 136,000, also winning the key 25-54 age demographic for that week.

And things are continuing to trend positively for Dobbs’ program. As Kudlow has taken time off throughout the summer, Dobbs continues to score victories against CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report.”

For the fourth time in the past three months, Dobbs has once again beat Kudlow for an entire week in the 25-54 demo. Dobbs defeated Kudlow by a 12-percent margin for the week of June 25-29.

Those four weeks when Dobbs has upset Kudlow are as follows:






P 25-54


P 25-54

% diff
FBN 03/05/12-03/11/12 07:00P -08:00P MTWTF__ 45 38 18%
FBN 03/19/12-03/25/12 07:00P -08:00P MTWTF__ 49 43 14%
FBN 04/02/12-04/08/12 07:00P -08:00P MTWTF__ 44 35 26%
FBN 06/25/12-06/29/12 07:00P -08:00P MTWTF__ 37 33 12%

Dobbs has remained in his 7 p.m. time slot, despite a recent shake-up of the Fox Business Network’s primetime schedule and looks to be one of the strong spots in the four-year-old network’s quest to unseat CNBC.

Follow Jeff on Twitter