As Trump Unravels, So Do Fox News Ratings
05/22/2017 01:56 pm ET
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In a development that has sparked murmurs throughout the cable news business, Fox News in recent weeks has regularly finished in last place among advertising-friendly viewers between the ages of 25 and 54, or demo viewers, as theyre known in the industry. (In terms of total viewers, Fox News does better, thanks to its large stable of viewers over the age of 54.)
For first time this century, they arent in first place, noted MSNBCs Joe Scarborough last week. In fact, for the first time this century, they are in third place. Added CNNs Brian Stelter, This is an extraordinary moment in the cable news race.
And yes, a lot of this is President Donald Trumps fault.
Ever since Trump fired FBI Director James Comey on May 9, which seemed to then unleash an unending stream of breaking-news bombshells that rattled White House windows day after day, Fox News has seen its mighty ratings prowess threatened by MSNBC and CNN.
Basically, the ongoing and ever-expanding list of scandals involving the Trump administration many revolving around Russia has depressed Fox News viewers while simultaneously spiking interest at CNN and MSNBC, driving Fox into the ratings basement.
Are we witnessing a sea change in cable news? Or is this simply an extended blip thats drawing back the curtain and revealing Fox News programming flaws flaws that could be, at least in part, the result of endless personnel turmoil at the network for the last year.
Whether its permanent or temporary, the current ratings malaise certainly raises larger questions for Fox News as it confronts a key transition period and figures out how to cover the Trump administration. So far, its defend everything Trump does while complaining about liberal media bias strategy doesnt seem to be paying off.
Keep in mind, last year Bill OReilly and Megyn Kelly were posting blockbuster numbers at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. for Fox News. Today, theyre both gone and their replacement shows are struggling. Tucker Carlson Tonight is having trouble at 8 p.m., and The Fives move to 9 p.m. has been, by Fox News standards, a ratings disappointment.
Carlsons decline at 8 p.m. must be especially troubling for Fox News executives since its a valuable time slot the network absolutely dominated for more than a decade with OReilly at the helm.
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