McEnroe aced out of CNBC

Ad man Deutsch to replace former tennis star

NEW YORK — CNBC has canceled John McEnroe’s ailing talkshow and plans a reshuffle to improve the financial channel’s lackluster primetime ratings.

Net will replace McEnroe with outspoken ad man Donny Deutsch. “The Big Idea With Donny Deutsch” currently airs at 8 p.m. on Wednesday but will be moved to 10 p.m. and bumped up to five times a week.

“McEnroe,” which bowed in July, drew an average aud of 75,000 a night, the network said, but the show often failed to attract enough viewers to register in the Nielsen ratings.

Deutsch’s show, which also bowed in July, has done slightly better, with an average of 90,000 viewers a night, the company said.

Deutsch’s timeslot will be filled by another airing of “Cover to Cover,” which airs repurposed “Dateline” reports hosted by CNBC host Liz Clayman.

CNBC, a fixture on the screens of trading floors and in financial institutions, typically scores a peak of 230,000 viewers when the financial markets close at 4 p.m. More than a third of executives in Fortune 1000 companies watch the channel, according to NBC research and the web has distribution in 86 million homes across the country.

But the network has struggled to find its footing in primetime, and morning ratings have slipped from a peak in 2000 as viewers lost interest in financial news.

With the demise of CNNfn, CNBC lost its most potent head-to-head competitor, but it’s about to get another when Fox News launches its own financial news channel next year.

NBC TV topper Jeff Zucker brought former “Today Show” chief Steve Friedman to help overhaul CNBC’s news programs. On Monday the channel debuted a revised version of the channel’s tentpole morning show “Squawk Box.”

In primetime, when the financial news audience falls off considerably, the channel is saddled with a number of low-rated shows including “McEnroe,” “Dennis Miller,” “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” and “Topic (A) With Tina Brown.”