MSNBC Libtalker Blames Balloon Incident For Ratings Struggles
Schultz: Balloon Boy Did Me In, I Need Your Help!
With its ratings in the toilet, MSNBC's future has never appeared more uncertain, particularly if NBC itself is broken off from parent company GE and sold.
That kind of shaky environment has cable talkers taking different approaches to career preservation. Chris Matthews, for instance, ducked a Boston Herald reporter's question earlier this week:
“Let’s just drop all the conversation about my network,” the “Hardball” host huffed the other day. “I’m not a media critic.”
It could be that Matthews got a little hot under the collar because his left-leaning network has been losing viewers.
During the recent third-quarter ratings period, Fox News averaged about 2.26 million total viewers in prime time and was up 2 percent from the same time last year. CNN had 949,000 viewers and was down 30 percent. MSNBC averaged 795,000 viewers and was down 10 percent.
In the coveted 25- to 54-year-old demographic, Fox News averaged 589,000 viewers and was up 5 percent. CNN had 288,000 and was down 39 percent. SNBC had 275,000 and was down 21 percent.
Mediaweek television analyst Marc Berman says Fox News is well above the competition.
“There’s bleeding everywhere except Fox News,” Berman said. “The rich has gotten richer and that’s Fox News.”
Fellow MSNBC libtalker Ed Schultz has taken a different, if amusing approach: pleading with his radio audience to watch the TV show. From his syndicated program:
SCHULTZ - TUESDAY (04:52): We are trailing CNN for the month of October so we gotta get after it, Ed heads. We don't want to lose, do we? Come on now. That's the, the balloon boy really screwed me up. You know, it's what happened! They cook up this balloon thing and we gotta cover it and everybody runs to CNN to the tune of 3-, 400,000 more people.
Now I gotta bust ass here to the end of the month to make sure we win this thing again! That's what happens! That's just the culture of it! I couldn't find a political angle on the balloon thing, so that's what hurt me, I guess, I don't know.
SCHULTZ - WEDNESDAY (07:00): Thank you for being there, listeners, thank you. And I'm a little bit behind CNN this month because of that damn balloon story. That psycho who made, wanted to get a reality TV show, he's screwing everything up. I don't know what the deal is, it's a goofy business.
Every time some big story happens, people that aren't watching news, they end up going to CNN when they don't have to, we got the same coverage, because CNN's branded for 30 years. And all of a sudden the ratings go wacko and it takes me three or four or five or six nights to catch up with 'em and beat 'em.
Thanks Ed, for coming up with one of the craziest ratings excuses ever. Next time, try blaming it on a dingo.
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