Missing Plane Coverage Helps CNN Beat 'Morning Joe' Ratings

Tuesday, 29 Apr 2014 11:55 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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For the past two months — coinciding with CNN’s relentless coverage of the Malaysian airliner disappearance — CNN has beaten rival MSNBC in the morning show wars, The New York Times reports.

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, host of "Morning Joe," which fell from second to third place in its time slot, pooh-poohed the most recent ratings.

"CNN has made itself a punch line on 'The Daily Show' for its phony breaking-news headlines and breathless coverage of random ocean debris," Scarborough said. "'Morning Joe' topped CNN in the first quarter by covering hard news, just as we have for the past five years. We will do the same in the future and won't be distracted by 'X-Files' cable news programming."

Launched last summer, CNN’s "New Day" swept "Morning Joe" in both the coveted 25-to-54 demographic and the total viewer ratings from Monday through Thursday, according to Hollywood website TheWrap.com.

It marks the first time the CNN program has beaten MSNBC for six consecutive days. Fox News and its "Fox and Friends" morning show continue to trump competitors in the 25-to-54 demographic, which determines advertising rates.

"New Day" beat "Morning Joe" in the ratings 25 days during the time period of March 13 — five days after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went missing — through April 25, according to the Times, which noted that "Morning Joe" beat "New Day" on April 25, a possible sign of viewer fatigue on the missing airliner.

In February, before the plane disappeared, "Morning Joe" averaged 127,000 viewers, compared to 79,000 for "New Day" in the 25-to-54 age group.

Since then, according to the Times, "New Day" viewership is up more than 50 percent, while "Morning Joe's" is down 17 percent.

In April, viewership in that demographic averaged 119,000 for "New Day" and 105,000 for "Morning Joe." Neither is close to eclipsing "Fox and Friends," which averaged 237,000 viewers in the same category.

MSNBC saw its lowest ratings in April since May 2007, averaging only 112,000 viewers for its total day coverage, according to the Times. Despite the dip, the network has no plans to alter the way it covers the news.

"It was a soft month, no doubt," MSNBC spokeswoman Lauren Skowronski told the Times. "But they are not going to change the editorial approach for one story. They want to stay on brand."

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