CNN's Original Programs Draw Younger Viewers Despite Network's Poor Overall Ratings

December 27th, 2014 3:55 PM

In yet another report on the continuing ratings disaster that is the Cable News Network, Nielsen data indicates that “CNN's overall prime-time audience for the year is trending at an all-time low.” However, there was one bright spot for the channel: The median age of an average CNN viewer during prime time fell from 60 to 58 years old.

At the same time, states Reuters reporter Rick Kissel, the Fox News Channel held steady at a median age of 68 while MSNBC skewed slightly older this year (61 versus 60 last year).

“Key to the declining median age in prime time has been its increased emphasis on original series,” Kissel noted, including This Is Life With Lisa Ling, Mike Rowe's Somebody's Gotta Do It, The Hunt With John Walsh and Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.

“CNN had skewed older in prime time than both MSNBC and Fox News until 2005, and this marks the first time that the Turner network is younger than both of its rivals,” he noted.

“Given the aging population of television viewers, any decline in median age is noteworthy,” Kissel indicated. “And of course, it could reap dividends to CNN when selling ad time, which is based primarily on viewership among those in the key news demo” of people from 25 to 54 years old.

“The median ages of the three cable news networks are more closely bunched in total-day figures,” he continued. “Here, MSNBC (60) is slightly younger-skewing than CNN (61), with Fox News at 66.”

“During an overall down cycle for cable news,” Kissel noted that “Fox News is drawing its smallest total-demo audience in 13 years, and MSNBC is at its lowest prime-time demo delivery in eight years.”

As NewsBusters previously reported, some of the significant changes in the cable channel's schedule have led to interesting results.

The Cable News Network made “modest” gains in ratings during the third quarter of 2014, due in part to the successful debut of The Hunt, which on July 14 drew the highest ratings for the premiere of a CNN original series.

Two weeks into the show's run, federal marshals and police tracked a Walsh target, Charles Mozdir -- a 32-year-old alleged sex offender who had been on the run for two years -- to a West Village head shop. In a shootout, officers shot Mozdir ten times, killing him.

“What John Walsh did through this storytelling of this creep and his capture and death was impact journalism,” CNN president Jeff Zucker declared at the time.

In addition, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown drew high ratings when it debuted in April of 2013 despite its regular use of vulgarity.

Last month, Mike Rowe -- the host of Somebody’s Gotta Do It -- found himself in a bizarre situation when liberal Jim Green attacked him on his Facebook page by asking: “Why on Earth would ANYONE vote Republican? A reptile has more decency than the Republicans in Congress! Only an odious toad would pass Ryan’s budget or gut Food Stamps.”

Rowe responded:

Remember, most people see posts like yours as small piles of vomit that they can quickly step around. But when the same vomitous post appears multiple times, you force my friends here to slosh through a virtual lake of spew.

I’m not an authority on Republicans or Christians, but last I checked, America is still populated by plenty of both. Unless you wish to alienate a majority of the country, you might consider something a tad more conciliatory.

Meanwhile, John Nolte of the website asserted that Kissel's article was just another example of “the left-wing media protect[ing] one of its own.”

Nolte stated the reporter was careful to indicate that CNN's problems are taking place in “an overall down cycle for cable news” and tried to bury his mention of the audience's “all-time low” viewership deep in the article.

“Moreover, it is non-news programming that is the cable news network’s only barely bright spot,” the reporter stated before noting:

This will hopefully put more pressure on CNN to continue to move further and further away from its news programming. There are already rumors that CNN is looking to add game shows.

CNN was the tip of the spear in spreading the “Gentle Giant” and “Hands up, Don't Shoot” lies that poured gasoline all over the lives of innocent Ferguson shopkeepers and citizens.

“Less news programming on CNN is a win-win,” Nolte concluded. “The network’s ratings will increase, and the American people will be safer from the Bond villain that runs the network.”

But if this trend continues, what will the channel for younger people be called: “Cable's No-news Network?” How about “Cable News: Nope” or “Carrying No News?” The possibilities are endless.