Lost in a lot of the political chatter that goes on whether it's the White House vs. Fox News or MSNBC vs. CNN is that regardless of the ratings, all of the news networks are making money. Whether they're all optimized for making the most money they could make is, of course, a different matter.
But when you hear that MSNBC is slowing its search for a host of a new show at 10pm because it's pleased with the ratings Keith Olbermann's show is getting in reruns at 10pm, you get the idea they're not exactly under the gun about current ratings performance.
NEW YORK — MSNBC is much less likely to start a third prime-time news show because its executives are pleased with how well a repeat of Keith Olbermann's "Countdown" is doing at 10 p.m. ET.
MSNBC chief executive Phil Griffin talked this year of actively searching for a new 10 p.m. host. Reruns of Olbermann's 8 p.m. show have aired there since March 2008.
Yet in October, Olbermann has averaged 600,000 viewers in that later time slot, nearly on par with Anderson Cooper's 689,000 on CNN, the Nielsen Co. said. In the 25-to-54 demographic, which MSNBC most actively courts, Olbermann's rerun beat Cooper's first-run show in that hour for the first time ever. Fox News Channel's Greta Van Susteren leads with just under 2 million total viewers.
Olbermann's rerun is getting nearly 60 percent of the audience that his first-run show does earlier in the evening, Nielsen said.
"We're looking, but nothing (new) has even come close to going in there at 10," Griffin said. "We've set the bar so high we don't want to break that success."