When the “Lean Forward” network hired Ronan Farrow last October to host his own weekday news/interview show, the 20-something son of actress Mia Farrow was hailed as “an original thinker” who could bring his 250,000 Twitter followers to watch him on MSNBC.
However, only a month after Ronan Farrow Daily debuted in mid-February, an anonymous source inside the channel told the New York Daily News that Farrow's ratings have been poor, and his program “has been a disaster for MSNBC” because the young host “sort of stinks on TV” and “hasn't turned out to be the superstar they were hoping for,” even in the relevant demographic of younger viewers ranging from 25 to 54 years of age.
The insider stated that the liberal channel's strategy was to bring Farrow in with the hopes that his younger, social media-based audience would follow him to cable television.
“But that hasn’t happened,” the source declared. “Just because someone is a boy genius-turned-Twitter star doesn’t mean they deserve their own TV show.”
Farrow, who has also worked for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the administration of president Barack Obama, “has looked uncomfortable on camera and often stumbles over his words," Daily News reporters Marianne Garvey, Brian Niemietz and Lachlan Cartwright stated.
Another example of his lack of on-camera experience took place last week “during an appearance on NBC’s Today, in which he seemed to have trouble linking sentences,” the reporters noted.
Then on last Wednesday, Farrow had about 312,000 viewers, which might be spectacular for Twitter but “is rather measly for someone who is supposed to be a major national personality,” another source said.
As if that wasn't bad enough, that day's edition was 708th among all programming ranked by Nielsen, in both total viewers and the 25- to 54-year-old age group advertisers are searching for.
The midnight airing of Baggage on the Game Show Network came in at No. 707, and the 8 a.m. Golden Girls rerun on the Hallmark Channel topped Farrow's episode by reaching No. 700.
Due to these and other generally poor ratings, the likelihood of being canceled is hanging ominously over the young host's head.
Another anonymous source defended Farrow to the Daily News: “Half the time Ronan has been on the air, the missing plane has dominated daytime TV.”
An MSNBC spokesperson issued a statement to the newspaper flatly denying the story: “This is simply not true. We’re happy with the debut of Ronan Farrow Daily and the show's progress this first month. MSNBC will continue to support Ronan and his team as they develop and grow the program.”
NewsBusters has regularly reported on the highs and lows of the opinionated news rookie. He received a “Cronkite Award” for outstanding journalism after hosting his new program -- for a grand total of three days.
Soon after, Farrow allowed guest Cecile Richards, president of the pro-abortion Planned Parenthood organization, to get away with claiming that “we are not a partisan organization” and are “just looking to make sure that people in office respect women's health and rights.”
However, conservative radio talk show icon Rush Limbaugh dismissed the MSNBC host by stating: “If you're young, if you're charismatic, if you're good-looking, if you're hip, if you're cool, if you're glib -- if you have all the superficial traits that we can say you have -- then that will trump experience, knowledge, humility, and hard work.”
In mid-March, Farrow declared that “irresponsible Catholic Church dogma is 'costing lives'" before opening his St. Patrick's Day program with a lame “drunk joke.”
Just one week ago, Farrow and lawyer Lisa Bloom tried to connect the death of black teenager Trayvon Martin to what they called “racial bias in preschool punishments.” And on the following day, Farrow declared GOP senator Mark Kirk a “hero” for refusing to back a fellow Republican.
And just to put the icing on the cake, Farrow and his staff tried to commemorate the death of former state senator Ray Hutchison on Monday by showing a picture of him and his wife, former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.
Unfortunately, the man in the picture was not her husband but was instead former transportation secretary Ray LaHood.
Just imagine what would happen if someone at the Fox News Channel made a mistake like that. There would be, as my father used to say, “weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
But because this took place on scandal-plagued MSNBC, the harshest punishment Farrow probably will receive is a lecture from fellow college nerd Chris Hayes of All In on how to stay on the air even after drawing minuscule ratings.