×

Ratings: Is CNN’s Piers Morgan Shooting Himself in the Foot?

In the end, are guns what killed CNN’s “Piers Morgan Live”?

The show, hosted by anti-gun crusader Morgan, continues to struggle in the Nielsens. And this month, the start of the Michael Dunn loud-music murder trial in Florida has put the issue of gun control back in the forefront. February has also produced six of the show’s smallest 10 audiences since it bowed in January 2011.

Tuesday’s telecast, which included coverage of the uprisings in Kiev and an interview with Rudy Giuliani, drew the show’s second smallest audience to date in the key news demo of adults 25-54 (50,000). It also drew just 270,000 total viewers, according to Nielsen, the show’s ninth smallest gathering ever.

Piers Morgan Live” has fallen below the 300,000-viewer mark on seven other occasions in February. And while the Winter Olympics on NBC may be to blame for some of the audience loss this month, “Piers Morgan” is drawing just a fraction of the audience attracted by competing shows on CNN and MSNBC.

Opposite “Piers Morgan” on Tuesday, “The Kelly File” on Fox News Channel drew 2.07 million viewers (including 354,000 adults 25-54) while MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” attracted 906,000 (including 227,000 in the demo).

“Piers Morgan Live” isn’t CNN’s only problem in primetime, of course, as the entire lineup has struggled and CNN topper Jeff Zucker has promised that 2014 would be a year of “shake up.” On Tuesday from 8 to 11 p.m., the network averaged just 64,000 adults 25-54 — not far from its all-time low of 57,000 in May 2000.

Morgan has long been an outspoken critic of U.S. gun laws, but the drumbeat has grown louder in the two years since George Zimmerman fatally shot Trayvon Martin. On his CNN show in December 2012, Morgan got into a heated exchange with gun-rights activist Larry Pratt, asking at one point: “You’re an unbelievably stupid man, aren’t you?”

There’s no way to quantify how much of a factor the discussion of gun control on “Piers Morgan Live” has contributed to its ratings (which were never all that great to begin with), but the show’s numbers have fallen more sharply since it became a frequent subject on the show.

Monday’s installment included discussion of the Dunn murder trial and Zimmerman’s assertion in a CNN interview with Chris Cuomo earlier that day that he was a victim.

HLN host Nancy Grace was among the guests, and she didn’t want to hear more gun-control talk from Morgan.

“Are you back on gun control again?” she asked. “If it weren’t for the British, we wouldn’t even have to have protections to carry guns. It was the British way back when they founded America. They were running through all of our homes trying to take our stuff. So we’re protected under the Constitution.

“So it’s not really right for a Brit to jump up and start talking to us about gun control.”

Morgan said he vehemently disagreed, but after a moment’s pause, he said: “Let’s not talk about gun control because Nancy’s made her statement and I was riposted.”

On Tuesday, an interview with Giuliani touched on several subjects but closed on the issue of guns, with Morgan bemoaning that “all the time now, in America, we’re hearing of this casual loss of life through guns. At what point does the gun itself not become a major issue?”

Wednesday’s hour, which featured Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Gayle King talking about the science of loneliness and its possible correlation to violence, grew to 345,000 viewers. The word “gun” wasn’t uttered once, according to a CNN transcript of the program.

More TV

  • DNC

    Mike Bloomberg to Join Democratic Presidential Contenders at Wednesday's Debate

    Democratic presidential contender Mike Bloomberg will take the stage alongside his rivals at a primary debate for the first time on Wednesday night after a poll released today allowed him to qualify for the event. Bloomberg commanded 19% support in the poll conducted by NPR, PBS NewsHour and Marist, second only to Sen. Bernie Sanders [...]

  • 'The Bachelor' Recap: Finding Love Among

    'The Bachelor' Recap: Finding Love Among Hometown Dates

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the eighth episode of Season 24 of “The Bachelor.” For the first glimpse of the real world in weeks, titular bachelor Peter Weber took his women back home. With only four women remaining — Hannah Ann Sluss, Kelsey Weier, Madison Prewett and Victoria Fuller — [...]

  • Drew Carey Price Is Right

    'Price Is Right' Tapings Delayed After Drew Carey's Ex-Fiance Killed

    “The Price Is Right” tapings have been postponed following news that host Drew Carey’s ex-fiance was killed last week. Family and sex therapist Amie Harwick, 38, was found Saturday morning at her home in Los Angeles with injuries consistent with a fall. She later died at the hospital. Her ex-boyfriend Gareth Pursehouse has been arrested [...]

  • Caroline Flack

    'Love Island' Returns to Air As ITV Defends Treatment of Caroline Flack

    ‘Love Island’ was back on air Monday for the first time since the death of former host Caroline Flack on Feb. 15. Amid the reality series’ return, broadcaster ITV insists it supported the star after she was removed from the show. Monday night’s episode began somberly with narrator Iain Stirling providing voiceover over scenes of [...]

  • Tiffany BooneEntertainment Weekly Pre-SAG Party, Arrivals,

    Actor Tiffany Boone Addresses Her Decision to Quit 'The Chi'

    Actor Tiffany Boone addressed her exit from “The Chi,” the Showtime series she departed in November 2018 after making harassment allegations against her former co-star Jason Mitchell. Mitchell was fired from the show last May as a result of intimidation and abuse accusations made by Boone and showrunner Ayanna Floyd Davis. Mitchell was subsequently dismissed [...]

  • Amazon Prime nabs ‘Russian Affairs’ for

    Amazon Prime Nabs ‘Russian Affairs’ for Germany, France and the Netherlands

    Amazon Prime Video has acquired the first season of series “Russian Affairs” for distribution in Germany, France and the Netherlands, from Russia’s Start Studios. The eight-part drama that follows the lives of Russia’s elite and those who aspire to that position is set in contemporary Moscow. Under the title “Gold Diggers,” the series was broadcast [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content