Despite receiving a slew of attention in recent weeks, the ratings for CNN's primetime "Piers Morgan Tonight" continue to lag significantly between other cable news and opinion shows in his timeslot.
None of those other shows have been getting the kind of media coverage, social network chat, or apparent word of mouth that Morgan's show has received since the British journalist stepped up his gun-control advocacy following the Dec. 14 school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
According to data collected by the Nielsen Media Research firm, "Piers Morgan Tonight," which airs weeknights at 9 p.m., has been in third place in overall viewership consistently since Dec. 15, the day after the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in which 26 died.
There were 797,000 who tuned into Morgan's show this past Tuesday. In comparison, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, who has the same time slot, had 983,000 viewers – 23 percent more, while the leader of the pack, Fox News' Sean Hannity, racked up 1.86 million viewers – 130 percent more than Morgan.
In the much sought after key demographic of 25- to 54-year-olds, Morgan didn't fare much better, losing out to Maddow by 79,000 viewers and to Hannity by 117,000 viewers.
Morgan didn't only trail other "live" commentators. The British native also lost out by a whopping 20,000 viewers to an 11 p.m. repeat of Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor," which initially airs at 8 p.m.
Since the shooting in Newtown, Morgan has made advocacy of stricter gun-control legislation a central theme of his show. This has led to a series of debates on the Internet, many of which personally attack Morgan, including a petition on the White House website "We the People" to get him deported back to the England
Video clips of Morgan discussing his views on gun control and interviewing guests who oppose his position have gone viral as well. Clips that have been viewed thousands of times include one of Morgan calling Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, "an unbelievably stupid man" and screaming at another guest for advocating for more gun rights, "How many more kids have to die before you guys say, 'we want less guns, not more!'"
Morgan was on the receiving end of a loud tirade from conservative radio talk show host and gun right advocate Alex Jones
who appeared on his show Monday night.
On Tuesday, the Obama White House dismissed the Morgan deportation petition
, saying, "No one should be punished by the government simply because he or she expressed a view on the Second Amendment."
There is one ratings bright spot for Morgan. When compared with other primetime news shows on CNN, he heads his own network, according to Nielsen Media Research. He beat out Anderson Cooper, whose show airs at 8 and 10 p.m., by 76,000 viewers.
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