05/09/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Ratings at CNN: Decay and Dismay

I have carefully avoided commenting about CNN and news ratings for the past month. The Olympics were on, and the erosion of CNN's audience might have been attributed to the lure of Olympic competition.

That's all over now, and CNN trails every other news network (including Headline News) in every Nielsen demographic category. To make it even worse, Fox News last week had more viewers in primetime and total day than the other three news networks combined.

The numbers speak for themselves, especially in a year-to-year comparison. CNN has lost more than 40% of its primetime audience, and 35% of its total day audience over that time period. It's even worse in the demographics; CNN is down almost by half among 18-49s and 25-54s in primetime. In total day, CNN is down by 45% in 18-49s and 35% in 25-54s. Obviously, the Campbell Brown, Larry King, Anderson Cooper lineup is not working. Their numbers are all going down, and they haven't improved since the Olympics finished.

Anecdotally, I have heard that several former CNN viewers have switched over to CNN International because they find that network much more satisfying when it comes to hard news.
And, for the final straw, it is reported that Anderson Cooper is talking with CBS about replacing Katie Couric, and that Christiane Amanpour is talking to ABC about replacing George Stephanopoulos. "Rats leaving the sinking ship" may be too strong, but CNN anchors certainly indicate a lack of confidence, even dismay, if they're going out on job interviews.

Once again, got great numbers during the Olympics and seems to be the only part of CNN that is living up to its past glory. Someone deserves a promotion for that.

I still wonder who's running the store at "the worldwide leader in news."