Trump was right again. He told the media they would regret how they treated him when he was gone if for no other reason than the ratings.
Trump famously told the media during his first campaign that if he was losing he would get out of the race but said, “there’d be a major collapse of television ratings,” if that happened before adding, “it would become a depression in television.”
Looks like he was right as CNN and MSNBC’s ratings are falling off a cliff since he left with CNN losing 47 percent of its primetime audience among the always critical 25-to-54 demographic.
From Fox News:
CNN averaged 2.5 million primetime viewers from Nov. 4, the day following the presidential election, through Inauguration Day on Jan. 20. But viewers fled the liberal network once President Biden took office, and CNN has averaged only 1.6 million primetime viewers from Jan. 21 through March 15.
CNN’s viewership during the primetime hours of 8-11 p.m. ET dropped 36 percent since Biden took office after it spiked following Election Day. CNN’s primetime viewership decline was even sharper among the key demographic of adults age 25-to-54, plummeting 47 percent during the same period.
CNN’s viewership also suffered among the total day audience since Trump left office, leaving the liberal network without its bête noire.
CNN averaged 1.7 million viewers from Nov. 4 through Jan. 20, but it dropped to 1.1 million since Biden took office for a 34-percent fall. During the same period CNN shed 44 percent of its total day viewers among the key demo, dropping from an average of 483,000 to only 272,000.
Longtime broadcaster Ted Koppel famously mocked CNN’s Brian Stelter to his face back in 2018, telling the network’s media pundit that “CNN’s ratings would be in the toilet without Donald Trump.”
From Matt Taibbi: Six or seven years ago, it was common to see CNN or MSNBC fall outside the top 20 rated cable networks, below titans like Disney, USA, TBS, and the History Channel. By 2020, the three top networks on cable — not just news networks, but overall — were Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN. The fact that news ate away so much of the market share of the entertainment business in the Trump years raises questions about what exactly we were watching.
Jump in your Dr. Who police box and go back to 2014, the last year Trump was not a major political figure. The cable news genre had what Variety described as an “overall down year.” It was a particularly grim time for CNN and MSNBC:
Total Primetime Viewers, 2014 Change
Fox News 1.779 million (even)
MSNBC 600,000 (down 8%)
CNN 528,000 (down 8%)
HLN 337,000 (down 16%)
CNN exemplified the pre-Trump dilemma. In 2011, the network’s average primetime viewership was 689,000. That dropped to 670,000 in 2012, and the year after that, in 2013, it fell all the way to 568,000, a 20-year low. Imagine the pucker factor at Time Warner the next year, when CNN’s entire 8-11 p.m. programming slate dropped 8% off that 20-year dip.