MSNBC's Ratings Are Collapsing

Whether it's the departure of Keith Olbermann or the weakness of the new prime time lineup, the ratings at MSNBC are collapsing.

Take a look at how this so-called news network fared Thursday:

As you can see from the numbers published by TVNewser Friday, CNN beat MSNBC every hour throughout Thursday's extended prime time with the only exception being Lawrence O'Donnell at 8PM.

Yet even his numbers were nothing to brag about, for he has now slipped under Olbermann's typical average of roughly one million viewers. Rachel Maddow's numbers in the following hour are also well off her normal million, and Ed Shultz at 10PM is really stinking up the joint.

Another concern for MSNBC execs should be their network's loss to CNN all of those hours in the crucial demographic of folks aged 25 to 54. As that is a big determinant of advertising rates, Thursday's demo numbers were a disaster.

Most embarrassing for MSNBC has to be Cenk Uygur's performance at 6PM. Not only is he getting handily beaten by CNN's "Situation Room," but he's also almost getting quadrupled by Fox's "Special Report."

And therein may lie the real mistake of MSNBC's after Olbermann's departure.

Maddow, O'Donnell, and Schultz had built decent audiences - for MSNBC, that is! - in their respective time slots. By moving Schultz to 10 and O'Donnell to 8, the momentum has been effectively squelched.

But the real key is Uygur.

As I noted the day after Olbermann's surprise announcement, pitting Cenk against Bret Baier seemed foolish. This clearly is not a man ready for prime time, and by having him at the precipice of television's most-trafficked hours is way beyond his talent and experience at this point in his career.

As a result, MSNBC is almost giving this hour to Fox and CNN while destroying any momentum the network used to get from Schultz in that slot.

The time has likely also come for MSNBC to reconsider "Hardball" at 5 and 7. With Uygur's lousy numbers sandwiched by Matthews', MSNBC is basically forfeiting three straight hours leading up to the supposed heavy hitters in their lineup.

That doesn't seem like a sound business model for a network that had been regularly besting CNN all these hours.

Consider too that MSNBC trailed CNN in average total viewers throughout the day Thursday, and was tripled in this stat by Fox. The same was true in the all important demo.

How things have changed, for two months ago I observed that with CNN's plummeting ratings, it was becoming irrelevant.

With this new pathetic lineup, it appears it's MSNBC that's fast approaching such insignificance.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.