THE BLOG
08/22/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Just Like Old Times in the Rating Game

Now that Michael Jackson's passing on has passed on, the cable news network ratings are pretty much the same as they used to be -- although FoxNews seems to be better than ever.

Thanks to Cynopsis, I've learned that last week, FoxNews had more viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined in primetime, and in total day. In prime, Fox averaged just under 2 million; CNN and MSNBC totaled 1.68 million. Total day, Fox averaged just over a million, and CNN/MSNBC had 966,000. In the key demo, adults 25-54, Fox edged out the combo by 11,000 viewers in prime, in total day, the combo won by 33,000.

If these numbers sounds small to you, it's because it's the midst of summer, everybody's out at the beach, and television viewing is way down, and pretty old. Well, more than half of Fox viewers are over 54, with CNN and Headline News slightly under. By now it's clear to all of us that cable news is an old person's game.

I am slowly going back to my belief that cable news viewing does reflect popular attitudes about the left/right split in the US. The decline in CNN/MSNBC viewing probably does reflect the feeling among liberals that President Obama is not living up to the promise embodied in his campaign. FoxNews rating performance similarly may reflect conservatives' hopes that Obama was a just a flash in the pan, and they may well make major gain in Congressional elections next year.

I know the President has a primetime news conference tonight, but I have a feeling he's been more than somewhat overexposed, so I don't know how much good that will do him. I'm eager to see this week's ratings next week.