(USNewsMag.com) – Despite nearly a year of programming changes executed under the network’s new CEO, Chris Licht, CNN’s ratings continue to tumble. The third week of 2023 saw the once acclaimed cable news channel average only 444,000 primetime viewers. Competitor MSNBC pulled 943,000 average viewers that week, while Fox News boasted 1.996 million. That puts Fox News at almost five times as many viewers in the critical timeslot as CNN.
Even more striking, Fox News was second only to ESPN in cable viewership during the week of January 16th, while CNN ranked staggeringly low at eighteenth on the list.
When Licht became CEO in February of 2022, he expressed the desire to move CNN’s program to a more balanced perspective in an attempt to attract more Republican viewers. In 2019, 58 percent of Republicans polled by a Pew Research Center study said they distrusted CNN, a number that has trended up since 2014 when only one-third expressed negative views about the network’s reporting.
Despite parting ways with multiple lead anchors and key network personalities including Brian Stelter, Jeffrey Toobin, and John Harwood, Licht has struggled to turn the network’s image around. Moving Don Lemon from his normal primetime slot to CNN’s morning show appears to have had the opposite of the intended effect with the recent number of demo viewers for CNN This Morning averaging only 65,000.
While Licht appears to be struggling to find the formula to fix the network’s appeal, John Nolte, writing for Breitbart, compiled a list of prominent news stories aggressively covered by CNN that were later revealed to be fabrications. Among the hoaxes perpetuated by the network were the Covington Kid, Jussie Smollett, Russia Collusion, Border Agents whipping illegals, and the NASCAR Noose. CNN’s ratings likewise declined during their consistently critical and overtly biased coverage of former President Trump.
The network’s woes are not limited to cable viewership. In 2022, the attempt to launch CNN+, a streaming service with big-name hosts like Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday, ended in abject failure just weeks after it began.
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