On Tuesday, May 16, CNN did something that hadn't happened to the network since 1997: The 9 p.m. edition of Piers Morgan Tonight drew an audience of only 39,000 viewers in the important 25-54 age demographic.
These numbers come as a huge blow to the host, liberal, former tabloid editor Piers Morgan.
According to a story by Alex Weprin for the TVNewser,com Website, that day was “a typical boring Tuesday, with little earth-shattering news to drive TV viewers to cable news.”
It was also May sweeps, with the season finale of NCIS: Los Angeles on CBS, America's Got Talent on NBC and Dancing With the Stars on ABC, drawing an astonishing 39 million viewers between them at 9 p.m.
Morgan's hour-long program, during which he interviewed lesbian actress Jane Lynch and Ted Williams, “the man with the golden voice,” drew a total of approximately 284,000 viewers, which was down from a typical weekday but not a record-breaking low overall.
The program's lead-in and lead-out, Anderson Cooper 360, drew about 90,000 demo viewers at both 8 and 10 p.m., also down from a typical weekday this year.
It has been an interesting year so far for Morgan. As NewsBusters previously reported, conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg called Morgan “a niggling pedant” after the interviewer belittled him during the April 30 edition of Piers Morgan Tonight.
Goldberg returned to the program on May 8 and accused Morgan of having a double standard when interviewing Republicans as opposed to Democrats.
Also, during an interview with Tony Perkins soon after the overwhelming passage of Amendment 1 in North Carolina, Morgan asked the president of the Family Research Center why he is “so implacably opposed to two loving people getting married.”
Morgan began his program on CNN on January 17, 2011, following the retirement of long-time interviewer Larry King who was shoved aside ostensibly in pursuit of higher ratings among younger viewers. It doesn't seem to be working out.