CNN Hits A Rock-Bottom Not Seen Since George Bush Senior’s Presidency

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Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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CNN witnessed its lowest-rated week in primetime viewership among one of its key demographics since 1991.

The network reeled in just 83,000 viewers among the 25-54 demo during the week of May 13 to 19 from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., the New York Post reported Thursday. The total viewership for the week garnered 494,000, while its main competitors Fox News and MSNBC witnessed 2 million and 1.1 million.

The low numbers dealt a major blow to CNN’s editor-in-chief Mark Thompson, who assumed his current role in August after the firing of CEO Chris Licht in June. He said the network is facing an “existential crisis” as leadership is combating a series of drastic changes and facing the drop in television viewership.

A spokesman for CNN said the primetime ratings are “all growing year-over-year” among the 25- to 54-year-old demographic and said primetime airing from 7 p.m. to midnight has witnessed a “registering double-digit, year-over-year growth” in total viewers, according to the Post.

CNN made drastic changes to its lineup for the shows in an attempt to combat its failing ratings. “CNN This Morning” host Poppy Harlow was removed from the program after its New York broadcast was on the chopping block, leading her to depart the network in late April. He further appointed former White House correspondent Jim Acosta to host “CNN Newsroom” during the 10 a.m. time slot.

Thompson laid out a plan last week to relaunch a plan initially put forth by former CNN President Jeff Zucker, who resigned in 2022 over the nondisclosure of an affair with a fellow staffer. The plan intends to increase coverage of culture and lifestyle rather than solely focusing on politics.

“We don’t believe news is just politics,” Thompson reportedly said to advertisers in New York. “Business and tech are news. Climate and weather are news. Health, wellness, and living longer are news. So expect to see us build new branded verticals in all these areas on TV, on our apps, and across our other platforms.” (RELATED: CNN, MSNBC And Fox News Suffer From Poor Ratings In 2023) 

Throughout 2023, the network witnessed an all-time record low in the 25- to 54-year-old demographic and had its lowest number in total viewers since 2014, Mediaite reported. It suffered a 15% drop from the previous year, averaging 482,000 viewers per day, dropping from the 568,000 average viewership in 2022.

The network witnessed a series of mass layoffs and profitability below $1 million after suffering from a record-low rating in late 2022.

Nicole Silverio

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