Tags: oreilly | ratings | cnn | msnbc

MSNBC, CNN Ratings Plunge as O'Reilly Reigns

Wednesday, 29 Apr 2009 11:30 AM

By Jim Meyers

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MSNBC and CNN’s primetime news programs have suffered an incredible nosedive in ratings since Barack Obama was elected president, Newsmax has learned.

Ratings for “Countdown With Keith Olbermann” on MSNBC at 8 p.m. have plunged a dizzying 42 percent since October, shortly before the election. CNN’s 8 p.m. show, now being hosted by Roland Martin, has seen a 49 percent plunge over that time period, while “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News has dipped only 15 percent, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Bill O’Reilly’s 8 p.m. show remains the top-rated cable news program, averaging 2,650,000 million households per night in April, more than the combined totals for Olbermann’s program (938,000) and CNN’s 8 p.m. offering (613,000) — with more than a million households to spare.

In the key demographic of viewers 25 to 54 years old, Olbermann has lost 53 percent of his average nightly audience, a precipitous plunge. Rachel Maddow, who follows him at 9 p.m. on MSNBC, has lost an astounding 65 percent of her 25-to-54 audience since October, and her 819,000 households in April compare poorly to Sean Hannity’s 1,953,000 households on Fox.

O’Reilly has also trounced Olbermann among viewers aged 35 to 64 in April, with 1,724,000 viewers, down 19 percent since October. Olbermann suffered a 49 percent drop in that demographic and had 1,151,000 viewers.

The solid showing of “The O’Reilly Factor” and the plunging numbers for Keith Olbermann further belie Olbermann and MSNBC’s occasional claim that he is winning the ratings war in his time slot.

MSNBC took out a full-page ad in The New York Times last November proclaiming “A Sweeping Victory” for its ratings and declaring “Countdown With Keith Olbermann” the No. 1 cable news program.

But fine print at the bottom of the ad acknowledged that the “victory” referred only to the 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. time slot for the dates Oct. 27 through Oct. 31, for viewers between 25 and 54 years of age.

Overall, however, O’Reilly’s show averaged twice as many viewers as Olbermann’s.

Earlier last year, the liberal press crowed loudly when Olbermann narrowly beat out O’Reilly in the 25 to 54 demographic one week in June. But the rating results were misleading. On Tuesday of that week, the cable stations covered that day’s primaries, and on Friday, O’Reilly was on vacation, with Laura Ingraham filling in. Ratings for “The Factor” dip when O’Reilly is not the host.

On the three days when O’Reilly and Olbermann went head to head, O’Reilly won the 25 to 54 demographic. And he trounced Olbermann in total viewers, with 2,193,000 per night to Olbermann’s 1,031,000.

The O’Reilly-Olbermann feud has been ongoing for years. O’Reilly denies that there is a feud, and says he won’t even mention Olbermann by name. But Olbermann for his part has made O’Reilly the frequent recipient of his nightly “Worst Person in the World” award.

In a recent interview with Broadcasting & Cable magazine, O’Reilly said “The O’Reilly Factor” has fared well since Obama entered the White House because CNN and MSNBC comprise the “Obama cheerleading crew,” and viewers are tuning in to Fox because it is “more skeptical of the president.”

And Newsmax reported earlier that Obama’s win on Election Day “may be a Pyrrhic victory” for Olbermann, who “had positioned himself as the anti-Bush, anti-Republican news source on MSNBC. With Democrats firmly in control of the White House and Congress, it’s questionable that his audience will grow.”

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