The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

19 June 2009

MSNBC Host Struggles To Sell Books And Generate Ratings


Scarborough Book Bombs, New TV, Radio Ratings Bleak


For "Morning Joe",
the backstabbing has officially backfired.

Over the past several weeks, this site has been tracking the attempt by MSNBC's Joe Scarborough to make money bashing his former friends in any and every available public venue. With a new book to peddle, could attacking onetime colleagues from his conservative days fuel sales? New data from the publishing world, as well as radio and TV, provide the answer.

To promote the release, the former GOP congressman turned radio and TV host appeared on left-leaning television shows such as The View and did interviews with the New York Times and Newsweek. Each time, he was quick to bash Rush Limbaugh, Karl Rove, Newt Gingrich, and other key conservative figures.

In recent years, Scarborough has found that turning against fellow Republicans could be good for the pocketbook, securing him the morning gig at MSNBC and a syndicated talk show airing on WABC / New York and elsewhere.

But in new data released late this week, Scarborough has struck out in every category: TV, radio and publishing. His widely-touted The Last Best Hope: Restoring Conservatism and America's Promise has bombed, selling just 6432 copies since its 9 June release, according to new Bookscan figures. At Amazon, it has already dropped out of the top 100, currently ranked 166.

By contrast, conservative author Mark Levin remained in first place after three full months, according to Bookscan, selling another 35,595 units to push closer to a possible one million sales mark in the weeks and months to come.

In radio and TV, the news for Scarborough wasn't any better: in newly-released Arbitron PPM data for the month of May, Joe's radio talk show generated a mere 1.6 share in the key 25-54 demographic. With that number including one hour of Don Imus's morning show, it reveals a huge gap between WABC's more liberal morning programming and its highly-successful conservative afternoon lineup featuring Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Levin.

Finally, Morning Joe's MSNBC ratings aren't exactly something to crow about, either: on Wednesday of this week, the most recent Nielsen ratings your Radio Equalizer could obtain, Scarborough turned in a weak 0.3 household rating, which translates to an average of 277,000 average viewers and just 93,000 in the 25-54 demo.

These numbers don't lie and the lesson for any budding Morning Joe-types out there is clear: the audience isn't stupid. They can sniff out a backstabbing weasel with remarkable speed, putting an early end to Scarborough's transparent get-rich-quick scheme.

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  • Hardy har har.

    The market speaks.

    By Blogger GeronL, at 19 June, 2009 19:45  

  • I'm not a fan of his but I did hear on Morning Joe that his book will be number 7 on the NY Times List next week. How can he sell so few books and be on the NY Times Bestseller list?

    By Blogger Unknown, at 19 June, 2009 21:18  

  • Joe Scarborough Conservative Bashing Book Tour Flops Bigtime

    By Anonymous StewartIII, at 20 June, 2009 12:51  

  • I used to Watch MJ regularly - but lately - I can't take it anymore - His being fair to Obama schtick is getting so sickening. If he criticizes him, he spends the next five days back tracking and slamming conservatives. I can't take it - makes me sigh and shake my head. I used to love Joe

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 June, 2009 14:20  

  • Judas. May you rot in he[[ with your friends.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 June, 2009 15:53  

  • Well said. I notice how Joe and Mika lean left on MSNBC and suddenly lean right on conservative radio a couple of hours later. What cheap media frauds. They think the public is stupid. Let's prove them wrong.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 June, 2009 16:45  

  • Joe Scarborough, David Frum, Colin Powell, and Meghan McCain should band together and start their own third party. That way these conservative "all-stars" would be forced to talk about something other than how they don't like Rush Limbaugh.

    By Blogger alien_mind, at 20 June, 2009 17:51  

  • Joe is a putz, period. The last time I saw him he was leaving a popular seafood restaurant in Pensacola, Florda...The Fishouse. Seeing Joe that day, reminded me that yes, people on television do get drunk. He's not even welcome in his own state. Someone, please tell Joe that he's a putz!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 June, 2009 18:39  

  • Joe wouldn't know anything about conservatism even if he spent a whole summer hanging out with the late Russell Kirk.

    He's a selfish MSM type who needs to just get lost.

    I'm so sick of MSM types pretending to be conservative when they know nothing of it.

    By Blogger Sapwolf, at 20 June, 2009 18:55  

  • You can take a little comfort in knowing that the clueless dunce that signed "Joe and Minnie" to a long cut..contract at WABC is history. Now if somebody would figure out that the current management team at WABC is equally brain dead when it comes to what makes a good talk show, there may be some hope..but don't hold your breath. The only thing worth listening to at WABC are the talk shows left by former management. However it sounds like they are trying to "fine tune" them as well.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 21 June, 2009 08:58  

  • No the market doesn't speak. Most big markets in America are rigged by large corporate interests.

    conservative books are purchased in huge quantities by conservative think tanks (Cesspools) then dumped on the market after they have been on the best seller list.

    By Anonymous Anonymous One, at 22 June, 2009 04:36  

  • I don't know if MJ's producer is still Gregg Cockrell, but Cockrell was Tom Leykis' producer at KFI in Los Angeles before Leykis was canned for flat ratings in favor of John and Ken.

    Liberal is as Liberal does... Being phoney all day long.

    By Blogger PCD, at 22 June, 2009 09:32  

  • Good thing, for Joe, some idiot..former..WABC manager gave him a long term contract. Even in other day parts sounds like they are continuing to tweak the station..for the worst.

    Note to WABC "Managment"You have already lost me 9pm to Noon. PLEASE don't mess with noon to 8PM any more than you already have.

    By Anonymous Dave, at 22 June, 2009 12:34  

  • SapWolf

    your heros are not conservatives, they are terrorists, Anti-Middle Class terrorists

    Limbaugh is a filthy terrorist
    so is Hannity

    you don't know what conservatism is
    you're a ditto-head, reject

    eat lead

    By Anonymous Dittoheadseatlead, at 22 June, 2009 13:22  

  • Strange that with such failings, Scarborough still manages to debut at #7 on the NY Times bestseller list.

    We are still waiting for Maloney's book on how to succeed in the radio business.

    By Anonymous Cons are Cowards, at 22 June, 2009 16:35  

  • "I notice how Joe and Mika lean left on MSNBC and suddenly lean right on conservative radio a couple of hours later."

    I noticed the same thing. I make it a point to miss his program, every chance I get.

    By Blogger wuzzagrunt, at 22 June, 2009 23:54  

  • IMUS..Joe & Mika ..Could this help explain why WABC is now proudly #1 with the 61 plus crowd?

    By Anonymous Mitch, at 23 June, 2009 10:03  

  • By and large, conservatives are smart enough to spot the difference between honest dissent and self-promoting opportunism.

    Right, Mr. Scarborough? Right, Mr. Mancow? Right, Ms McCain?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 23 June, 2009 11:57  

  • Just checked Amazon; Scarborough's book is No. 46 when sorted for "Books/Nonfiction/Politics but not even in the Top 100 in overall nonfiction.

    Yes, Joe is No. 7 on NY Times but that number may be for store orders rather than actual sales. Notice that O'Reilly's "Bold Fresh" is No. 6 after 9 months.

    Overall, it appears that Maloney is correct about Scarborough's success or lack thereof!

    By Anonymous ttc, at 23 June, 2009 12:49  

  • All of you so-called conservatives are bashing Joe and practicing schadenfreude when it comes to his book and tv show. You call him Judas, or a back stabber, when in actuality, he has remained one of the only true conservatives this entire time. He remained conservative and spoke out against President Bush as he presided over the largest expansion of the federal bureaucracy, driving us from surpluses into deficits, and increased our national debt every time he had the chance. While all this was going on, all of you "yes-men" and "yes-women" were cheering on President Bush and applauding him along the way. I hate to inform you of this but that's not conservatism and it never will be. Conservatism has nothing to do with party affiliation either, so those of you saying that he turned his back on Republicans: You're exactly right. He pointed out that they weren't true conservatives. And guess what, HE WAS RIGHT! He has never waivered from his commitment to conservatism.

    Oh, and as for those of you who say he is left-leaning: Just because you have an open debate with the other side and listen to their ideas and debate them, does NOT mean you are left-leaning. If more people on both sides would actually engage in the debate, we would not have the partisan gridlock that paralyzes this country's political process now. Unfortunately, people on both sides can't see through their ideological blind ignorance long enough. Maybe one day....

    By Anonymous Conservativetothecore, at 24 June, 2009 10:07  

  • Politics aside.. the the radio show is difficult to listing to.

    By Anonymous Tom, at 24 June, 2009 12:08  

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