Can a new morning show with Don Lemon help turn around CNN’s fortunes? | The Fix
CNN has a long history of struggling to gain traction. For every network-ending ratings bomb of last summer, there’s another one to announce a new morning star with the power to pull in millions of eyeballs.
A new morning show with Lemon, a former CNN anchor, would put CNN’s ratings back on track; in doing so, it would also allow its biggest problem to be solved: Its daytime lineup, which has been a magnet for blowback and criticism for decades, has been losing the attention of young viewers.
CNN has been known for its snubs
But one day after CNN’s New Year’s Eve coverage sparked outrage over the way its anchors and reporters talked down to the president, the network appeared to turn on Bill Hemmer, who began his new show at precisely the wrong time of the year.
The week after the New Year’s Eve debacle, Hemmer’s show was the top-rated program on cable news. But over the next seven days, Lemon got 1.5 million more viewers, pushing Lemon back to the show’s original lead-in lineup of Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon. And on January 3, in a clear sign that CNN will give him enough time to show how he improves daytime TV and make a splash in primetime, Lemon’s show had the biggest audience ever for a weekday morning program, taking a 2.5-percent bump over his previous ratings. (On a per-program basis, Lemon’s show was the highest-rated weekday morning program since January 2011, according to Nielsen Media Research.)
Hemmer’s decline began the same week that CNN’s daytime lineup, once considered one of the country’s most prestigious, had its biggest erosion in ratings in decades. Ratings for shows like Anderson Cooper 360 and Don Lemon, which started this fall, have fallen so far behind their predecessors, it’s more difficult to make the case that CNN has a viable daytime lineup and a future.
Hemmer’s show is the second new lead-in that the network has given to Lemon in the last six months. On January 3, CNN debuted new episodes of Anderson Cooper 360, an hour-long news show helmed by former George W. Bush