CNBC Cancels John McEnroe Show

CNBC to end John McEnroe’s talk show (CBS)

CNBC said Friday that John McEnroe’s dismal prime-time talk show will be canceled by the end of the year. The viewer numbers for the show, which had its debut in July, were so low at times that they failed to qualify for Nielsen’s ratings reports. It was drawing an average audiences of 75,000 a night, CNBC said. That’s well below an estimated daytime peak around 230,000 when stock markets close. Many daytime viewers in the channel’s 86 million U.S. household connections briefly check the channel for index or stock performance, and it is said to have the highest audience income demographics on cable TV.

“McEnroe” failed despite the considerable fame of its host, one of the greatest tennis players of his era. Plus, CNBC was counting on reaching advertisers’ coveted audience of young males, who enjoyed McEnroe’s reputation for throwing temper tantrums on the tennis court and questioning authority.

As I noted back in August, I found McEnroe’s show simply unwatchable even though I find him personally engaging and was a big fan during his tennis career. Consistently getting ratings so low they can’t be measured is astounding.

The idea that he was going to somehow reach the young male demographic because of his bad boy image was absurd. McEnroe’s heyday was the late 1970s and early 1980s. Nobody who reasonably could be called “young” outside an AARP meeting saw McEnroe play tennis.

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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. Mark Hasty says:


    As a 33-year-old who remembers seeing Johnny Mac’s many meltdowns, I resent the implication that I am no longer “young.”

  2. IR says:

    I have a unique perspective on BoyJohn…and it’s not a very good one. I had the unique experience of playing him when he was at Stanford. He had an interesting perspective of where the lines on the court were even then…but there were no chair Umpires in college tennis, and it turned out the lines were where he said they were on his side of the court.

    To be brief, I never really understood how the public could mistake his childish behavior for “personality.” He’s still that same spoiled little brat in his 40’s as he was in his 20’s.

    (Disclaimer): He beat me…but not badly.

  3. dave k says:

    does anyone know who McEnroe’s guest last night (12/6/04), an attractive blonde, was?