Ronan Farrow: Success on Twitter, Not on TV

Wednesday, 12 Mar 2014 08:51 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Ronan Farrow's stardom on Twitter, where he has more than 240,000 followers, isn't translating to success for MSNBC's "Ronan Farrow Daily."

Farrow, the son of Mia Farrow and either Woody Allen or Frank Sinatra, is stumbling with his television debut, Variety reported, despite the factors that brought him to MSNBC — his looks, his celebrity connections, and his Twitter following.

"That may sound trivial, but to think otherwise is naive," wrote Variety digital editor-in-chief Andrew Wallenstein. "There are plenty of policy wonks out there with resumes that can fill a phone book, but very few of them boast a built-in audience on the strength of their online personality."

Farrow's show debuted the last week of February, airing at 1 p.m. daily in hopes of attracting younger viewers. But his numbers tanked, drawing the lowest total of viewers, averaging 243,000 daily total viewers and just 55,000 viewers in the key demographic age group of people ages 25-54 in his first week, TV Newser reported.

Farrow appeared on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" Tuesday night to discuss his use of social media and his show.

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"Colbert Report" poked fun at Farrow's expense, playing Sinatra's "Fly Me to the Moon" as he walked out and host Stephen Colbert saying, "He's mostly known for his tweets."

Farrow denied to Colbert that he's only trying to attract young viewers and joked that he could "secretly be an [Bill] O'Reilly type."

He said he wants to "bridge the divide" and said viewers "don't want to be left by the side of the road" when it comes to the news.

Farrow's resume is impressive, Variety reports, including graduating from college when he was only 15 and going on to earn a degree from Yale Law School and another from Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship. He also worked for the Obama administration and at the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Despite his pedigree and a charming personality, viewers aren't turning in, Variety said, and his resemblance to his "alleged is-he-or-isn’t-he father Frank Sinatra is a distraction," but not the entire problem.

"In his opening weeks on the air, Farrow has seemed tentative and ill at ease, prone to stumbling on his words," Wallenstein wrote. "More to the point, he just doesn’t resemble the guy who is so dazzling on social media."

Instead of having a typical news-type format show, Wallenstein said, the network should "give him the kind of forum that makes people like Keith Olbermann or Bill O’Reilly famous, in which the questioner and commentator are essentially the same person; those they interview are really just furniture."

Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh has poked fun at Farrow, saying that he's "never done anything," and that MSNBC is throwing Farrow "into a situation where he alone is supposed to redefine and rocket to success this dismal failure of a network, all because of what? His liberalism, his pedigree, his looks, his hipness, his mom, maybe his dad, his education. He hasn't done diddly-squat."

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