CNN Loses Ground in Primetime

Fox, MSNBC are pushing longtime rival into 3rd place
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2009 11:02 AM CDT
In a photo provided by CNN, CNN's Larry King, left, interviews Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich during a broadcast of "Larry King Live" Monday, Jan. 26, 2009.   (AP Photo/Lorenzo Bevilaqua/CNN)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – The oldest cable news network is starting to lag behind both of its main rivals in primetime, Variety reports. In the first quarter of this year, CNN saw a 23% drop in the key 25-54 demographic and a 10% drop overall from 8 to 11pm. In particular, Campbell Brown's show at 8pm (she's now on maternity leave) got socked by Bill O'Reilly on Fox and Keith Olbermann on MSNBC. Fox leads the primetime race by a mile, and MSNBC actually overtook CNN for the first time.

CNN now has even Turner Networks stablemate Headline News snapping at its heels, but execs say the primetime decline doesn't worry them—because the stations' ratings for its entire 24-hour schedule are up. The first quarter was the channel's most successful since 1991's Gulf War coverage, they boast, and there are no plans to overhaul the evening lineup. "Primetime is most meaningful to entertainment networks," CNN's US chief said.