The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

21 February 2007

Half Hour News Hour Ratings, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter

THE NUMBERS ARE IN

Confounding Critics, '1/2 Hour News Hour' Has Stellar Debut







In what must be an infuriating turn of events for serial FOX News Channel- bashers across the Internet, the network's 1/2 Hour News Hour, a conservative- leaning comedy program, turned in impressive ratings for its Sunday debut.

Given mixed advance reviews for 1/2, it wasn't clear whether a substantial viewership would emerge, but all expectations have been exceeded. Producer Joel Surnow (also behind the megahit 24 and seen in right photo) must be quite pleased.

According to TVNewser, nearly 1.5 million people tuned in to watch President Rush Limbaugh and Vice President Ann Coulter's opening skit, among others. For a Sunday night cable news channel program, those are stellar figures.

From TVNewser's report:


1/2 Hour News Hour: 1.5 Million Viewers

The ratings are in for The 1/2 Hour News Hour on FNC. The heavily-promoted premiere delivered 499,000 viewers in the 25-54 demo and 1,478,000 total viewers.

The show gained about 170,000 demo and around 300,000 total viewers from its lead-in. Half the viewers immediately tuned out, giving The Line Up just 231,000 demo and 787,000 viewers at 10:30pm.

> SF Chronicle, Feb. 16: "If 1.5 million viewers watched -- slightly less than Stewart's nightly 1.6 million audience and more than Colbert's 1.2 million -- Surnow said, 'it would be a huge number.'"

> Update: 10:43am: "The show was definitely popular with Tivo users," an e-mailer says. According to Nielsen's live data, the show averaged 1,398,000 viewers and 442,000 in the demo. The original stats, listed above, are live + same day DVR data, showing that 80,000 total viewers and 57,000 demo viewers time-shifted the show and watched it later in the day.

> Update: 10:46am: The satire's time slot was up 69 percent in viewers and up 94 percent in the 25-54 demo compared to Q1 '07 to date...


Yes, at the San Francisco Chronicle, heads must be exploding today!

Meanwhile, on yesterday's radio show, Rush Limbaugh provided more details on the program's future and addressed some of the criticism that has emerged to date:


RUSH: Let me tell you about this show. There's a second episode coming up on March the 4th at 10PM Eastern on the Fox News Channel. In my opinion, it's an even better episode, including the skit that Ann and I do to open that program as well.

But you have to keep in mind, for those of you who saw the program or who will see a repeat, these shows are essentially pilots. They were done on a shoe string budget, and of course the objective is to have the show picked up as a weekly feature.

Now, there's another thing about this. I've read some comments from people who liked the idea but thought the subject matter was weak. “Come on, I could have written better stuff,” or, “I could have done better.” You have to understand, these shows were taped on January the 12th. Ann and I did our stuff on January the 5th, they taped the show a week later, January 12th, it airs on, what, February the 18th?

There was no way to be topical here. These shows are what we in the broadcast community call "evergreens," meaning they'll run any time of the year. They're not specific to date, or not specific to issue.

If this program gets picked up and runs weekly, the show every week will be dealing with specific issues and items in the news that week. These pilots were simply unable to do that. They could have done it, but it wouldn't have worked with issues that are four and five or maybe even more weeks old.

For example, when the phone rings in the Oval Office after Ann's come out, and then my secretary Rosemary -- wonder how many people got the subtlety of that, Rosemary Woods', Nixon, 18-minute gap in the tape? Anyway, Nancy Pelosi is on the phone. Well, had we known about Nancy Pelosi and her demands for an airplane we could have thrown that in. But when we taped it, that had not come up. It's those kind of things that provide us some limitation.

So you just have to understand how pilots are produced and -- it's not that you have to; I'm trying to inform you how pilots are produced and so forth. But the next episode is on March 4th. Ann and I open that one as well, with a fireside chat. No real fire, but there's a fireside chat. It's funny as hell. The second one, that's the primo, to me.


Rush's point is well- taken: if the show is picked up long- term, it will have the ability to be more topical, as episodes are taped on a weekly basis.

Regardless of what FOX does with the program from this point forward, in establishing a beachhead for televised comedy with a conservative slant, 1/2 Hour News Hour has indeed accomplished something very important.


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Joel Surnow image: Daily Bruin

15 Comments:

  • "For a Sunday night cable news channel program, those are stellar figures"

    you're basically saying "For a one-legged blind man with no shoes, he ran pretty fast"

    By Blogger hardcore conservative genious, at 21 February, 2007 17:16  

  • Cable and broadcast ratings are two different animals AFAIK. Of course there are MANY, MANY cable channels out there.

    And I do not get the analogy of the blind one-legged man.

    By Blogger The Real Bob Anthony, at 21 February, 2007 20:09  

  • "For a one-legged blind man with no shoes, he ran pretty fast"

    So then the show (like the man) performed to it's fullest possible potential (as limited as it was). HCG you do of course understand that is actually then a compliment right?

    By Blogger Lonewatchman, at 21 February, 2007 21:11  

  • May this program meet with nothing but success.

    May it be seen by as many viewers as possible!

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 22 February, 2007 00:17  

  • actually, it isn't a compliment at all, and only those with the most incompetent of brain capacity would perceive it as such.

    here's what it means - a one-legged blind man with no shoes obviously could not run fast at all. its a perception issue, as only a retard would perceive that as "fast", just as only a conservative (or retard) could perceive those ratings to be "stellar".

    i hate it when you lackeys need everything spelled out for you.

    By Blogger hardcore conservative genious, at 22 February, 2007 09:02  

  • If it's from those "24" people, it's got to be good!!

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 22 February, 2007 10:41  

  • ....here's what it means - a one-legged blind man with no shoes obviously could not run fast at all. its a perception issue, as only a retard would perceive that as "fast", just as only a conservative (or retard) could perceive those ratings to be "stellar"....

    Thanks for the heads-up, but now it really doesn't make any sense.
    The 1/2 Hour news did better numbers on Sunday night (a traditionally strong time for broadcast networks and throwaway time on cable news channels) than the other news channels, with the exception of FNC, do in weekday prime. In fact, its almost three times what Olberman does weeknights, and he's considered the tentpole 'star' at MSNBC. In fact, in both raw audience and 'demo' (25-54s) the 1/2 hour outperformed almost any program at any time on MSNBC, CNBC, CNN, and HLN. Yep, that's 'stellar' performance. and its compared against all the other talent in the cable news universe (with the exception of FNC), regardless of when their programs air. Now that's the 'perception' media planners and buyers come away with. With the low production costs, if they can keep stay even close to those numbers, that program is a license to print money.

    But, thanks for the tutorial.

    Regards.

    By Blogger Thomas Bench, at 22 February, 2007 15:37  

  • "....a license to print money....."

    Earning a living off the backs and blood of our troops is a pretty sad way to earn a living, TB....

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 22 February, 2007 21:40  

  • "....a license to print money....."

    Earning a living off the backs and blood of our troops is a pretty sad way to earn a living, TB....

    Hey, Hash...you may want to call Google security. It appears some vacuous typist has stolen your password.

    Rwgards.

    By Blogger Thomas Bench, at 22 February, 2007 23:04  

  • I'm sorry, I don't speak cryptic.

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 23 February, 2007 01:12  

  • Thanks for the update.

    I was one of the TiVo stats.

    By Blogger tradersmith, at 23 February, 2007 10:34  

  • According to Variety, the 1/2 Hr News Hr will be followed by the tryout of
    "It's Out There" , a half hour look at items from blogs, hosted by conservative commentator Michele
    Malkin and former Clinton administration operative Kirsten Powers

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 23 February, 2007 12:18  

  • "...half hour look at items from blogs, hosted by conservative commentator Michele
    Malkin..."

    CHI-CHING!!

    $$$ oil, that is. $$$

    $$$ "Texas T." $$$

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 24 February, 2007 23:29  

  • The show is AWFUL! Rush making a crack about Brittany Spears starting to wear panties again while Ann Cloture sits next to him in a skirt you can see all the way up. If FOX thinks her boney crotch is going to carry the program they're in for a big surprise. FOX doesn't think much of their average viewers intelligence if the only way they can get the lambs to laugh is by following canned laughter. I thought fake canned laughter went out in the 70's. FOX should stick to what it knows best, the hosts screaming at their guests.

    By Blogger Bunny ~N~ Early, at 04 March, 2007 23:20  

  • Is providing extreme right-wing "humor" to extreme right-wing viewers, really doing "something important?" I would reserve the expression "something important" for doing things like 1) ending George W. Bush's war on the people of Iraq or 2) providing truly "fair and balanced" news. I doubt efforts in those directions are likely on the news outlets favored by the author of this blog.

    By Blogger KRXAHAL, at 13 March, 2007 11:56  

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