The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

08 May 2005

Tina Brown's CNBC Show Axed


Topic "A" = No Audience

In recent days, we've been discussing the ugly trend of radio syndication deals for cable news channel hosts, without regard to audience demand.

It's simply been about beating the other guys to the punch. For stations, the goal is cost-cutting, at the expense of ratings and revenue. How do some of these people get cable chat shows in the first place?

Tina Brown, though not a radio host (at least not yet), has been "Topic A" this weekend, with the end of her low-rated CNBC talk show. It's really the same issue of supply and demand.

How low were the numbers? Broadcasting and Cable reports:

After months of low, and recently subterranean, ratings, Tina Brown has pulled the plug on her weekly CNBC interview show, Topic A with Tina Brown.

A memo sent to CNBC employees late Friday said that Brown was leaving the show to work on what is apparently her new "topic A," a book on the legacy of Princess Diana.

But Brown's ratings tell a more compelling story. Last Sunday, Topic A's prime time airing managed to draw just 4,000 souls in the key news demo, adults 25-54. Total viewership reached just 26,000.Year to date, her average was higher, at 75,000 total viewers.

The weekly show debuted in February 2004, hinging on the ability of Brown -- former editor of Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and Talk magazines -- to secure high-profile guests. She got the guests, but never the ratings. The show will wrap up May 29.

Consider this: a weekend radio talk show, in a top ten market, would likely pull a larger audience than this TV program did nationwide, with access to a majority of television homes, on a widely available channel.

It brings back the question of audience demand- were there viewers in need of a boring weekend interview show? The thinking was that Brown could score big-name guests.

So what? A host must be compelling to generate an audience. Can't wait to see the replacement.


  • It's a real shocker tabloid TV journalism selects its talkshow hosts by PC...NO, not really! After having been subjected to Donohue in my youth (who got his job strictly because he was a left-leaning sponge married to a wealthy J.A.P.) this blogger is convinced there are no limits of depth to which the "mainstream" Ministry of Propaganda will not stoop.

    By Blogger Galt-In-Da-Box, at 09 May, 2005 23:59  

  • Brian: Two points:

    With audiences so miniscule, I'm sure that it was CNBC that pulled the plug on Tina Brown, not vice versa.

    And I may have finally learned something from one of Ted's repulsive anti-semitic innuendos that are scattered all over this blog. I always thought that Phil Donahue's wife was of Lebanese decent, certainly not Jewish.

    But that stuff only matters to an anti-semite anyway!

    By Anonymous ira, at 10 May, 2005 11:44  

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