Anderson Cooper’s Ratings Plummet

I’m sure I’ll see dumber stories as the day wears on but Business Insider‘s “Anderson Cooper’s Ratings Plummet” is the early morning leader.

anderson-cooper-ratingsAnderson Cooper is fading in the ratings.

The respected CNN anchor has seen his numbers slip significantly through the past year. His 10 p.m. show, “Anderson Cooper 360,” has declined 62% in total viewers and 70% in adults 25-54 from November 2008, according to Nielsen figures.

Last month, in Cooper’s time slot, Fox News’ “On the Record” attracted an average viewership of 1.9 million while “360” averaged 672,000; repeats of MSNBC’s “Countdown” and HLN’s Nancy Grace show averaged 655,000 and 458,000, respectively. But in the ad-friendly 25-54 demo, those same repeats won out over Cooper with 224,000 (MSNBC) and 214,000 (HLN).

Cooper — who became an overnight sensation during his Hurricane Katrina coverage — surely deserves better ratings. From the start of 2009, he began losing a huge chunk of his nightly audience.

So what happened? Let’s see: There’s no presidential election to ramp up ratings; there’s heavy competition from centrist CNN’s noisier rivals (see: Fox News, the No. 1 cable news channel); there’s people catching up on DVR-ed TV shows in the late evening; then there’s the loss of Lou Dobbs in the 7 p.m. anchor chair, among other possible factors.

Work those blue eyes, Coop!

Conveniently, the story eventually explains why it’s a stupid story:  It’s comparing a slow news period to a period of maximum interest in news.

So, “Coop” has seen his ratings for his political coverage plummet since the presidential election?  Not news.

“Coop” and his blue eyes losing out to reruns of other news-oriented shows is mildly interesting.  But the story doesn’t present the necessary information to know whether this is a new development.  What were the comparative ratings last November?  What has been the trendlines in ratings for other news shows during the period in question?

via memeorandum

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Franklin says:

    I watched him a bit during the election; they had a fairly reasonable mix of political commentators on his show. Since then, the only times I’ve flicked it on he was covering some BS story like Michael Jackson or whatever Michelle Obama was wearing that night, so I quickly clicked away.

  2. You’re right: this is a non-story.

    What we should be focusing on is the fact that Tiger Woods’ mistress will be giving a press a conference at 2:30 PM eastern. Now that’s news.