'Parker Spitzer' Trails the Pack, but CNN Finds Upside

Wednesday, 06 Oct 2010 01:59 PM

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CNN’s new “Parker Spitzer” show either didn’t park enough folks in front of their TVs during its debut, or it spit forth a key target demographic, depending on who’s Monday-morning-quarterbacking. In this case, the opinions rolled in on Tuesday morning. The political talk show featuring columnist Kathleen Parker and former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer as hosts from the conservative and liberal perspectives, respectively, had fallen flat when it was unveiled Monday night, according to the Media Decoder blog in The New York Times.

Kathleen Parker Eliot Spitzer CNNThe show attracted just 454,000 viewers, signaling that it “may not be the answer to that network’s chronic ratings problems in prime time – at least from the evidence of its first night on the air” wrote blogger Bill Carter.

Meanwhile, CNN’s main rivals for such programs, Bill O’Reilly on Fox News and Keith Olbermann on MSNBC, drew 3.1 million and 1.1 million, respectively.

Making matters worse, Carter opined, “Parker Spitzer” lost audience on the show preceding it, “John King USA,” which drew 471,000. Something that might cause CNN to fret even more, he wrote, was that “Parker Spitzer” was down sharply from “Rick’s List,” the Rick Sanchez show it replaced. Sanchez had been attracting more than 491,000 viewers before CNN showed him the door for maligning “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart as a bigot and implying that Jews control most media outlets.

But WAIT! A CNN rep doesn’t see the glass as half empty. Even though it lost some viewers from the King show that preceded it, it added viewers in the age bracket the network pitches to advertisers: people between 25 and 54. “Parker Spitzer” added 17,000 viewers in that group, the representative said.

“We are pleased with the quality of the show and over time we think viewers will be drawn to the more thoughtful discussion and lively debate that Kathleen and Eliot have to offer,” the rep said.

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