Its a strange direction prime-time news is going in if you ask me, not really a fan of any of major personalities myself.
For cable news, watching news presented by your favorite news personality is big business for networks like CNN, MSNBC and news leader Fox News Channel. Usually presented during prime-time slots, opinionated news programs like Bill O’Reilly’s The O’Reilly Factor, Sean Hannity’s show, the appropriately named Hannity along with Glenn Beck’s show have made the network the go-to place for right-leaning views. MSNBC, traditionally the least-viewed news network on cable, has bolstered their ratings thanks to a prime-time lineup of left-leaning pundits like Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow. The network is even beating the pioneer in 24-hour news, CNN.
Yet for all the fighting in primetime, daytime television is usually a straightforward endeavor. Why? Because most viewers are looking for a recap of news, not politically biased punditry.
Daytime cable news isn’t something tuned to for long stints of time, but more as “background noise” like mentioned in a recent article from the AP. Something that’s on in the background at home or in the office for viewers to “check in” every so often. At night is when people can kick back after the workday and have their news “filtered” by any number of cable news journalists. “You’re coming in for a fix,” says CNN’s John King. “I don’t think you’re coming in for a fight.”
In early December 2009, CNN and MSNBC put out ratings info for 2009 with MSNBC touting its first prime time demo defeat of CNN and CNN touting its best ratings year of the last five, excluding the 2008 election year.
Fox’s numbers are up 10-percent over 2008; 1.2 million total day, up 16 percent; and 1 million in mornings, up 14 percent. The network received its biggest boost from Glenn Beck, who nearly doubled viewer-ship in his early evening time period. Glenn Beck is up 96% in total viewers (averaging 2.3 million). He’s also up 148% in the A24-54 demo, averaging 612,000 viewers. HLN also saw significant percentage gains, although its total audience remains tiny compared to Fox’s. CNN’s audience, however, continued to drop and was eclipsed by MSNBC in the 18-49 demographic. In particular, CNN’s audience during the Anderson Cooper time period diminished 26 percent among total viewers.