Uh oh: Olby-less MSNBC falls to third place

posted at 11:30 am on February 3, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Somewhere, Keith Olbermann is smiling — or more likely, laughing his rear end off.  In a week where viewers wanted breaking news, the new MSNBC prime-time lineup managed to fall back to third place.  And the cable channel’s putative news program now headed by Larry O’Donnell managed to lose ground to a show so weak that its death has been widely predicted:

On a week marked by a huge international story–and hefty NBC resources committed to telling it–MSNBC marked an unpleasant milestone, dropping to third place across primetime on February 1. In perhaps the most striking defeat for the network,Lawrence O’Donnell, who took over for the departed Keith Olbermann was soundly defeated by CNN’s Parker Spitzer, a show assumed by many to be such a poor performer as to be on the chopping block.

On Tuesday night, Parker Spitzer attracted 292,000 viewers 25-54, compared to O’Donnell’s 196,000.

CNN newcomer Piers Morgan, whose show Piers Morgan Tonight has had several ups and downs in its first two weeks, finished strongly ahead of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow (327,000 to 260,000). Morgan broke from single-interview format to cover the Egypt story live, and interviewed former British prime minister Tony Blair.

MSNBC’s Ed Show, which relocated to 10 p.m. in the new lineup, was nowhere near CNN’s AC 360. Cooper, who’s on assignment reporting from Cairo, led with 344,000 to Ed Schultz’s 180,000.

Let’s put these numbers in their proper perspective.  For the 8 ET hour, Fox got 3.6 million overall viewers, more than twice the viewers of CNN and MSNBC combined in that period.  Among the 25-54YO demographic, Fox again doubled up on its two competitors, with 831,000 viewers compared to 488,000 combined for O’Donnell and Parker/Spitzer.  O’Donnell did win the overall viewer battle against CNN, but not by much: 948K to 825K for Parker/Spitzer.

In comparison, Keith Olbermann had well over a million viewers overall during his later years in O’Donnell’s slot.  By February of last year, his draw among the 25-54YO demo had dropped significantly, but he still got 263,000 in that demo at that time.  That’s 34% better than O’Donnell’s doing now.

It may take some time for the new MSNBC lineup to establish itself in its new form.  However, these were all established hosts with supposedly firm audiences, not a slate of new talent.  Olbermann’s departure did a lot more damage than many people would have thought.


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The worst network in the world?

Why the question mark?

Good Lt on February 3, 2011 at 11:33 AM

Couldn’t happen to a nicer outfit.

KingGold on February 3, 2011 at 11:33 AM

A hearty laugh is in order…

thebrokenrattle on February 3, 2011 at 11:34 AM

Part of this is probably due to the fact that when news breaks people turn on CNN more than MSNBC and we are in the middle of a breaking news period. Once that passes it’ll be easier to make a fair comparison.

MikeknaJ on February 3, 2011 at 11:34 AM

Honestly folks, is MSNBC any worse than Al Jazeera.. Not trying to be silly here. Honest question…

http://english.aljazeera.net/

Keemo on February 3, 2011 at 11:35 AM

Wonder what would happen if they put a couple of conservatives in the primetime lineup?

cjtony97 on February 3, 2011 at 11:36 AM

“Olbermann’s departure did a lot more damage than many people would have thought.”

Ed…

…. you forgot the /sarc tag.

/

Seven Percent Solution on February 3, 2011 at 11:37 AM

Egypt has much to do with the current ratings between CNN and MSNBC…

mjbrooks3 on February 3, 2011 at 11:38 AM

Memo to NYT: Buy MSNBC!!!!

Bruno Strozek on February 3, 2011 at 11:38 AM

For the 8 ET hour, Fox got 3.6 million overall viewers, more than twice the viewers of CNN and MSNBC combined in that period.

Playing for second place, or not to come in turd place.

VegasRick on February 3, 2011 at 11:39 AM

Well the Liberally insane need an outlet with which to recharge their hate.

Where are they all going?

portlandon on February 3, 2011 at 11:39 AM

Wonderful news.

OmahaConservative on February 3, 2011 at 11:39 AM

Wonder what would happen if they put a couple of conservatives in the primetime lineup?

cjtony97 on February 3, 2011 at 11:36 AM

I hear David Frum is available.

RedRedRice on February 3, 2011 at 11:39 AM

I stopped watching MSNBC years ago but in the last few nights I’ve tuned in as I flipped through channels looking for updated Egypt coverage and I have to say that of everyone on there Rachel Maddow is the only one that’s even remotely watchable. She did a nice job last night with live coverage coming out of Cairo for both her own show and then another live hour a little later on.

Bennett on February 3, 2011 at 11:40 AM

C’mon, Ed. We all know why their ratings are in the toilet. “Palin-Free February”!

Doughboy on February 3, 2011 at 11:41 AM

Lawrence O’Donnell…was soundly defeated by CNN’s Parker Spitzer

My retort.

mizflame98 on February 3, 2011 at 11:41 AM

Heh…

What is going to happen once the takeover is complete

cmsinaz on February 3, 2011 at 11:41 AM

Aren’t the viewers of msnbc more commonly referred to in the media as a “fringe element”, so why the surprise of small audience? They preach to the nut choir.

tim c on February 3, 2011 at 11:42 AM

Parker Spitzer is still on?

LOL

WisCon on February 3, 2011 at 11:42 AM

The most amazing thing about the stats to me (someone totally ignorant of how many viewers of a tv show it takes to make money)is how few people you need to make a profit on tv. Amazing. Heck, even the GOP establishment could produce numbers like these.

JimP on February 3, 2011 at 11:42 AM

There is only one man who can turn this time slot around for MSNBC. Rick Sanchez. Admit it, you would tune in to watch that train wreck.

Kataklysmic on February 3, 2011 at 11:42 AM

What we need is some Rosie Rosie Rosie!

MeatHeadinCA on February 3, 2011 at 11:43 AM

If your niche is the Hatefilled Left why fire the most hatefilled Leftist? When MSDNC puts some real conservatives in the lineup their rating might improve but that will probably never happen.

CCRWM on February 3, 2011 at 11:44 AM

I agree that the turmoil in Egypt may have some impact on the ratings. I have watched more CNN in the past week than I have in the past year…even more than FNC this week. I did have to turn CNN off though when Anderson Cooper “became news” and overly emoted his place in history.

HawaiiLwyr on February 3, 2011 at 11:44 AM

Only response necessary.

Rebar on February 3, 2011 at 11:45 AM

CNN better had jumped to #2 – if they can’t score on a big international crisis, then what good are they?
I wanted to watch Fox but they either A) sucked covering Egypt early on, or B) trotted out Shepina to wet his panties over the whole thing.

jjshaka on February 3, 2011 at 11:46 AM

Is this Humpbot worthy.

wheelgun on February 3, 2011 at 11:46 AM

Win the Fail

ted c on February 3, 2011 at 11:47 AM

Olbermann’s departure did a lot more damage than many people would have thought.

So did the bomb on Hiroshima….and, likewise, both events saved american lives.

wildweasel on February 3, 2011 at 11:48 AM

It may take some time for the new MSNBC lineup to establish itself in its new form.

Just exactly how does an outfit that starts with garbage, “establish itself”??? Are extra-strength disinfectants available? Shouldn’t every MSNBC program be prefaced with a warning: “We are not responsible for prolonged viewing that can cause permanent brain damage—aka liberalism”

Rovin on February 3, 2011 at 11:48 AM

like I said, I’m kind of a big deal….

/Ron Burgundy

ted c on February 3, 2011 at 11:48 AM

next up. meggie mac eating tacos at 8pm?

ted c on February 3, 2011 at 11:50 AM

Keemo on February 3, 2011 at 11:35 AM

Wolves and sheep’s clothing etc? So yeah, imho, worse than AlJazeera. MSNBC’s radical socialists are supposed to be Americans, but they’re ideology defines them as something else.

dogsoldier on February 3, 2011 at 11:51 AM

sorry “they’re” should be “their”

dogsoldier on February 3, 2011 at 11:51 AM

I agree that the turmoil in Egypt may have some impact on the ratings. I have watched more CNN in the past week than I have in the past year…even more than FNC this week. I did have to turn CNN off though when Anderson Cooper “became news” and overly emoted his place in history.

HawaiiLwyr on February 3, 2011 at 11:44 AM

The best part was when Cooper was going on and on about how they were “set upon” with punches and kicks etc.- without showing any visible signs of it.
Then later admitting they were “glancing blows”- which means he got a Wet Willie.
Assclown.

jjshaka on February 3, 2011 at 11:52 AM

. . . proving that Olbermann is so obnoxious that his employer would deliberately choose a huge revenue loss over keeping him.

Chuckles3 on February 3, 2011 at 11:53 AM

For the 8 ET hour, Fox got 3.6 million overall viewers, more than twice the viewers of CNN and MSNBC combined in that period. Among the 25-54YO demographic, Fox again doubled up on its two competitors, with 831,000 viewers compared to 488,000 combined for O’Donnell and Parker/Spitzer.

I really just want to be watch liberals faces when they read that.

It would be so delicious.

——-

To be fair to the loony left, one thing they just don’t realize is that – taking ideology and politics out of the question – FoxNews just does a much, much better job.

The people, the personalities, the production values, the sets, the graphics, just the general overall quality … is so obviously superior to its competitors.

MSNBC could, in theory, try to compete. Don’t they have Hollywood connections that could snaz up the production values?

Of course, then they’ll run into the other reality: Americans really don’t much like liberals.

Ha.

It’s good to be the king.

Professor Blather on February 3, 2011 at 11:55 AM

A whole lot of useless hubbub over what less than 0.1% of your population are doing.

Dave Rywall on February 3, 2011 at 11:56 AM

Too bad. If their ratings had skyrocketed, maybe they would have taken out the rest of their garbage.

Ronnie on February 3, 2011 at 11:57 AM

Keef will bring that same magnetism to the MLB and NFL broadcasting booths. Just a matter of time.

a capella on February 3, 2011 at 11:57 AM

. . proving that Olbermann is so obnoxious that his employer would deliberately choose a huge revenue loss over keeping him.

Chuckles3 on February 3, 2011 at 11:53 AM

it was apparently more expensive to keep him than it was to fire him.

decisions.

ted c on February 3, 2011 at 11:58 AM

A whole lot of useless hubbub over what less than 0.1% of your population are doing.

Dave Rywall on February 3, 2011 at 11:56 AM

For the 8 ET hour, Fox got 3.6 million overall viewers, more than twice the viewers of CNN and MSNBC combined in that period

So, about 5 – 6 million viewers = 0.1% of our population? Go back to the basement davey.

VegasRick on February 3, 2011 at 12:04 PM

next up. meggie mac eating tacos at 8pm?

ted c on February 3, 2011 at 11:50 AM

Ha +10

MeatHeadinCA on February 3, 2011 at 12:05 PM

Put Rachel in a bikini. Ratings WIN!

SouthernGent on February 3, 2011 at 12:06 PM

Now, they need to get rid of that obnoxious MadCow fella’

OmahaConservative on February 3, 2011 at 12:06 PM

With cable news networks, it’s not just the size of the base audience. It’s who they are. They’re the ones that give money and time to political campaigns.

RBMN on February 3, 2011 at 12:09 PM

…The best part was when Cooper was going on and on about how they were “set upon” with punches and kicks etc.- without showing any visible signs of it.
Then later admitting they were “glancing blows”- which means he got a Wet Willie.
Assclown.

jjshaka on February 3, 2011 at 11:52 AM

Yeah, Andy Vanderbilt usually has to pay big bucks on 47th Street for that kind of treatment…

slickwillie2001 on February 3, 2011 at 12:09 PM

Put Rachel in a bikini. Ratings WIN!

SouthernGent on February 3, 2011 at 12:06 PM

Are you sure about that?

Well, come to think of it, in MSNBC’s target audience it really might be a hit.

Professor Blather on February 3, 2011 at 12:12 PM

Olbermann’s departure did a lot more damage than many people would have thought.

Damage?

Keefums poor loyal viewers are wandering in the wilderness looking for a new messiah. Who knows, maybe some will actually watch another news source AND LEARN SOMETHING.

GarandFan on February 3, 2011 at 12:13 PM

It may take some time for the new MSNBC lineup to establish itself in its new form.

Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic does not create a new form.

RadClown on February 3, 2011 at 12:17 PM

For the 8 ET hour, Fox got 3.6 million overall viewers, more than twice the viewers of CNN and MSNBC combined in that period

So, about 5 – 6 million viewers = 0.1% of our population? Go back to the basement davey.

VegasRick on February 3, 2011 at 12:04 PM
—–

“Parker Spitzer attracted 292,000 viewers 25-54, compared to O’Donnell’s 196,000.’

” finished strongly ahead of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow (327,000 to 260,000)’

“Cooper, who’s on assignment reporting from Cairo, led with 344,000 to Ed Schultz’s 180,000.”

That’s what I’m talking about, Nancy.

Dave Rywall on February 3, 2011 at 12:23 PM

Viewer reaction to propaganda seems to be the same wherever it happens in the world. The minions stop pay’n attention to it.

roflmao

donabernathy on February 3, 2011 at 12:30 PM

The fell? Who knew there was someplace below them? I was taught that you can’t fall off the floor. Guess I’ll have to rethink that one.

MJBrutus on February 3, 2011 at 12:33 PM

A whole lot of useless hubbub over what less than 0.1% of your population are doing.

Dave Rywall on February 3, 2011 at 11:56 AM

Yet you hang out here at HotAir and hang on our every word.

Nice logic.

portlandon on February 3, 2011 at 12:33 PM

A whole lot of useless hubbub over what less than 0.1% of your population are doing.

Dave Rywall on February 3, 2011 at 11:56 AM

I applaud your consistent ignorance and willingness to come here everyday and spew nonsense.

Davie, the % of population means nothing. It is the relative ad dollars at play, per demo, per air time segment. Worth roughly a few million dollars per 30 minute segment.

You share the same stupidity as the meida-rich liberals who cant, for the life of them, figure out why they are losing. Now that Comcast owns MSNBC, changes are being made to effectively run a network for PROFIT, per ad dollars and viewers received.

I understand Canada has a proud, state sponsored network rotation, between CBC1, CBC2, CBC3 to cover curling, hockey and moose migration patterns; but please leave the media world to us Americans. Oh – and the CBC receives paid ads for its existance, a decision they realized in 1979, while also being funded by the government. Part of that “act Canadian, until you need to make money”, then alas – American derived ad revenue comes into play.

Odie1941 on February 3, 2011 at 12:40 PM

I don’t get cable, but last night when the shots started ringing out I went looking for video coverage. Fox was up to its ears in multiple blame Obama stories. CNN had nothing. MSNBC had a 17 minute large-format interview with their guy on the scene. Maddow, who I usually cannot stand, conducted it and I have to say she did a very good job.

Later, CNN had a smaller video, which was good. Fox still had nothing. The Fox web site has always been behind the curve.

paul1149 on February 3, 2011 at 12:40 PM

The numbers do not reflect the true strength of Fox News.
MSNBC and CNN are generally available on less expensive cable packages. Fox News always costs more. This means that Fox is in fewer homes.

Who knows where Fox would rate if they were treated the same as the other cable “news” outlets. I don’t think the others would even exist. LOL

The Rock on February 3, 2011 at 12:41 PM

That’s what I’m talking about, Nancy.

Dave Rywall on February 3, 2011 at 12:23 PM

Your arguement is a little limited, just like your IQ.

VegasRick on February 3, 2011 at 12:41 PM

Odie1941 on February 3, 2011 at 12:40 PM

Look at the tragic state of basic rights in the PRC: Canada: ‘Human Rights’ Tribunal Orders Woman’s House Seized After She Said Muslim Employee’s Lunch Smelled Bad

Canadians come here to meddle in another country?

slickwillie2001 on February 3, 2011 at 12:45 PM

Olbermann’s departure did a lot more damage than many people would have thought.

*sniffle*

jnelchef on February 3, 2011 at 12:45 PM

Put Rachel in a bikini. Ratings WIN!

SouthernGent on February 3, 2011 at 12:06 PM

Cruel and Unusual Punishment. There are laws against that.

search4truth on February 3, 2011 at 12:57 PM

Keith Olbermann????

Didn’t there used to be somebody named Keith Olbermann?

Sportscaster, right?

JohnGalt23 on February 3, 2011 at 12:57 PM

Honestly, I think the drop in numbers are the lost conservative viewers. Olbermann was self parody and humorous to watch. But the rest of the lineup is just plain stupid on a stick. And stupid is boring to watch.

NotCoach on February 3, 2011 at 1:07 PM

They’re going to stay in the crapper until they get right of Ed Schultz, Maddcow and tingles.

TrickyDick on February 3, 2011 at 1:29 PM

Mr. Burns approve.

mizflame98 on February 3, 2011 at 1:43 PM

Awww, dont de widdle wefties wike to see Bagderson Poopshoot get punched in his widdle head?

Western_Civ on February 3, 2011 at 1:48 PM

I guess even lefties get tired of 24/7 Palin/Bachmann reporting.

Go RBNY on February 3, 2011 at 3:22 PM

This isn’t surprising, it has always been inevitable.

volsense on February 3, 2011 at 3:25 PM

Olbermann was a clown and thus amusing to those with a sick sense of humor. Without him there is only sick without any humor.

volsense on February 3, 2011 at 3:28 PM

sounds like the lefties are throwing a fit and boycotting their favorite network.

Daemonocracy on February 3, 2011 at 6:32 PM