CNN Hits 20-Year Weekly Low in Primetime

Categories: Cable News Ratings

Written By

August 7th, 2012

The XXX  Olympics have not been good news for CNN. According to Nielsen data, the week of July 30, the channel garnered its lowest primetime ratings among adults 25-54 (96,000) and total viewers (318,000) in twenty years.

CNN's Ten Lowest Rated Weeks

P2+ P25-54
WEEK Live+SD AA(000) Live+SD AA(000)
WEEK1087-07/30/2012 318 WEEK1087-07/30/2012 96
WEEK1077-05/21/2012 344 WEEK450-05/15/2000 98
WEEK1003-12/20/2010 379 WEEK1077-05/21/2012 102
WEEK451-05/22/2000 380 WEEK448-05/01/2000 103
WEEK1080-06/11/2012 382 WEEK1004-12/27/2010 103
WEEK1076-05/14/2012 385 WEEK1076-05/14/2012 104
WEEK449-05/08/2000 396 WEEK449-05/08/2000 105
WEEK1083-07/02/2012 396 WEEK1003-12/20/2010 105
WEEK457-07/03/2000 400 WEEK1083-07/02/2012 107
WEEK125-02/21/1994 407 WEEK451-05/22/2000 109


Looking at individual programs, Piers Morgan Tonight scored a series low of 349,00 total viewers and 81,000 adults 25-54, while the 10PM telecast of Anderson Cooper 360 earned CNN's lowest ratings in the time period in 20 years.

Network Period Program Time (000s) (000s)
CNN 07/30/12-08/05/12 AC 360 (M-Th)/COOPER SPCL (Fri) 08:00P -09:00P 349 81
CNN 07/30/12-08/05/12 PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT 09:00P -10:00P 314 81
CNN 07/30/12-08/05/12 AC 360 (M-Th)/COOPER SPCL (Fri) 10:00P -11:00P 259 97
  • Hillbilly

    It’s Bush’s fault. ;)

  • David

    Actually, according to the table, Morgan hit a low of 314,000 viewers.

  • AppleStinx

    You’ll know that what you recorded is CNN when you catch yourself trying to skip programming to watch commercials.

  • City Kitty

    If they shifted right, they could turn this around. But, they won’t…buh bye, CNN!

  • Former CNN Fan

    Really, shifting to the right would fix it? Do you honestly think that will pry people away from Fox? Uh, no. Shifting left or right won’t help. Shifting away from stupid would do wonders for CNN. Stop trying to copy Fox or CNBC and do something original. Dump the overpaid preening media starlets and promote real journalists.

  • Scroll the Troll

    A real “center” position might do it but you know they won’t.

  • Laurence Glavin

    Late Sunday night, CNN was the only channel with live coverage of the Sikh massacre. As I glanced at the schedule from my cable provider, during that period MSNBC, Current and the Fox Right-Wing Propagannda Network had prison documentaries. Just for fun, I set my DVR for the Fox Right-Wing Propaganda Network to record from 1:30 am until 2:00 am just to see if they’d break away for live coverage of the Mars Rover landing. I theorized they’d stay with the Geraldo rerun with only a mention of the landing on the chyron if it was successful, breaking in only if it crashed so they could blame Obama. To their credit, they DID break away and offer actual coverage of the event. The FRWPN personnel who made the decision to do so were probably fired the next day.

  • Joe

    They need to pick a lane, remember what the 2nd letter is “news” and be a news network. Have news people be your commentators not people like Donna Brazille and Alex Snuffulafugus. The fact that Piers Morgan has a job and millions don’t is a sad commentary on the world.

  • Ralph Hahn

    It doesn’t even pay to turn on the studio lights and operate the cameras.

  • Coffee Steve



  • Former CNN Fan

    At what point do cable and satellite providers tell Time-Warner that paying to carry CNN/HLN just isn’t worth it. Seriously, if they would lower my cable bill and ditch the carriage of CNN and HLN, I would be very happy! How they can demand such high fees is beyond me. I panicked when they took off Comedy Central, but if DirecTV threatened to remove CNN, I’d say go ahead, take it, who needs it. So many better places to get news.

  • JR

    Shifting right won’t help. MSNBC tried that before when they hired Tucker Carlson and Alan Keyes and it didn’t work because Fox News already has that demographic locked down. They didn’t get to second place until they became the liberal version of Fox because apparently people on both sides of the political spectrum only want to have their beliefs confirmed. People only tune in to CNN when there’s breaking news, so I’m not sure how they’re going to turn things around.

  • Coffee Steve


    Thats about the best post about CNN that I have read since I been coming here. Kudo’s JR, well done

  • Former CNN Fan

    Yes, CNN sees a bump in breaking news but they still don’t get Fox News numbers. CNN isn’t number one even in breaking news. Many non-partisan news organizations are successful – broadcast news still posts hugse ratings numbers. 60 Minutes is a success. NPR, Time, Newsweek, The Atlantic, The Financial Times, Christian Science Monitor, Politico are all nonpartisan organizations that have been successful. CNN by its own complacency and aloofness has tarnished its own brand. The problem is that it lacks a defining philosophy and a vision for how it will present the news. They take a schizophrenic, shotgun approach to news presentation that even the most severely ADD patient couldn’t follow. Their top news personalities are smug jerks that lecture more than report. They all live in the Manhattan bubble that is completely separated from the rest of the country. They are clueless and out of touch. I don’t buy that they are just an innocent victim of partisan cable news talk – that is what the idiotic CNN executives tell themselves. There is a market for real journalism but CNN just isn’t delivering.

  • Columbo

    Hopefully, this won’t mean the end of Soledad O’Brien’s riveting ‘Black in America’ specials. Those are awesome.

  • Graham

    Columbo. I take it you are being sarcastic. Her specials? OMG

  • Erick

    To sum it up, CNN needs to get back to being a “centrist” news network, obviously leaning left or right does not work, or trying to be “FOX” or “MSNBC” is stupid because there is already an audience for that. If CNN has any intention on not being bankrupt, they need to get back to the news network they were before, accurate reporting and unbiased news coverage, and serving America’s “middle ground” audience. Their current left leaning slant isn’t working, and is clearly shown by the severe drop in ratings of recent.

  • greg


  • CNN (The Mike Factor)

    Don’t worry everyone, we’re working diligently to get the ratings back. We’re canceling all of our shows except Piers Morgan Tonight. We are also extending Piers Morgan Tonight to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It will be called Piers Morgan Forever. Piers is the right move for our liberal, we mean, balanced network, and with the aid of our new logo (it’s blue!) CNN will be number one in no time.

  • p.morgan

    What’s wrong with P.Morgan show .? I think it’s a great show and he’s the left’s answer to the likes of bill o’Reilly and rush limbaugh. Of course he’s not as mean as those righties talking heads but he’s the only one who stands his ground and makes sure the questions are being properly answered. Bravo Piers, keep it up. You’re doing an excellent job. The ratings will show it eventually.

© 2015 Tribune Digital Ventures