Roger Ailes may be a fascinating subject to people who study the U.S. media industry, but to the rest of the American public … apparently, not so much.
CNN’s media-analysis program “Reliable Sources” drew tiny numbers for Sunday’s hour, more than half of which was devoted to Ailes and allegations raised in an upcoming unauthorized biography of the Fox News Channel honcho. And Monday night, an interview with the book’s author, Gabe Sherman, performed poorly for CNN.
According to Nielsen, “Reliable Sources” averaged just 341,000 total viewers and 61,000 adults 25-54 — down 42% week-to-week in the key news demo to the second-lowest average in the nearly four years since the program moved to a new Sunday 11 a.m. ET timeslot. (The previous demo low of 54,000 came two weeks earlier, on the traditionally lightly viewed Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s Day.)
And viewers seemed to dodge “Reliable Sources,” with CNN delivering more viewers both in the preceding hour with “Fareed Zakaria: GPS” (361,000 viewers, including 92,000 adults 25-54) and in the hour after “Reliable Sources” went off the air with “State of the Union” (417,000, including 90,000 adults 25-54).
Sunday’s telecast of “Reliable Sources,” the sixth hosted by Brian Stelter, was down 6% in total viewers and 34% in adults 25-54 vs. his prior five-week average. Compared with the program’s January 2013 averages with Howard Kurtz as host, Sunday’s “Reliable Sources” was down a steep 57% in adults 25-54 (from 143,000) and 22% in total viewers (439,000).
Fox News Channel’s competing Sunday media program, the Kurtz-hosted “MediaBuzz,” dominated “Reliable Sources” in the ratings — averaging a little over 1 million total viewers and 230,000 in the demo.
On Monday night, CNN’s “Piers Morgan Live,” which included an interview with Sherman, placed fourth in adults 25-54 among the news nets in its timeslot (106,000), losing to sister network HLN’s “Dr. Drew” (111,000); both were well behind Fox News Channel’ “The Kelly File” (361,000) and MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow” (310,000). In total viewers, the CNN show drew 442,000 — less than one-fifth that of FNC’s program (2.41 million).