Cable News Networks See Boost After Roe v. Wade Is Overturned
News of the Supreme Court’s official decision noticeably boosted all three networks — Fox News, MSNBC and CNN — from recent prior Friday daytimes.
The Supreme Court’s decision, by a 6-3 vote aligned by party lines, to overturn Roe v. Wade — the near-five decades long-ruling that had declared the U.S. Constitution generally protected the liberty to choose to have an abortion — was made official on Friday, June 24.
When Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion that first indicated the overturning was leaked to the public back on the evening of May 2, the overall ratings for the three major cable news outlets surprisingly remained relatively steady.
However, news of the Supreme Court’s official decision noticeably boosted all three networks — Fox News, MSNBC and CNN — from recent prior Friday daytimes. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern, the total viewer averages of each and their respective percent gains were, as follows:
- Fox News Channel: 2.16 million viewers (+64% from 6/17/22; +40% from 6/10/22); 332,000 adults 25-54 (+83% from 6/17/22; +44% from 6/10/22)
- MSNBC (10 a.m.-6 p.m.): 1.17 million viewers.(+56% from 6/17/22; +21% from 6/10/22); 161,000 adults 25-54 (+120% from 6/17/22; +56% from 6/10/22)
- CNN: 0.901 million viewers (+127% from 6/17/22; +56% from 6/10/22); 251,000 adults 25-54 (+218% from 6/17/22; +92% from 6/10/22)
As seen in the aforementioned percentage increases, the growth was more profound from just one week prior. Compared to June 17, there was more viewership on June 10, the day following the opening night of the Jan. 6 committee hearings.
Newsmax averaged 205,000 total viewers from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET on June 24, approximately 50 percent larger than each of its prior two Fridays within the same time window.
HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher” was TV’s first late-night comedy talk show to broadcast an original edition following the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Its hour drew 817,000 total viewers in its original 10 p.m. ET telecast, matching what it drew one week prior.
Fox News Channel’s “Gutfeld!” at 11 p.m. delivered 2.22 million total viewers and 429,000 within the key 25-54 demographic — from June 17, up 13 percent in viewership and up 38 percent in the demo. As noted in the rankings below, the late-night talker was among the four FNC telecasts from June 24 to place in the Top-9 of all cable news programs for the week (ending June 26) based on adults 25-54.
Cable news averages for June 20-26, 2022:
Total Day (June 20-26 @ 6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.)
- Fox News Channel: 1.421 million viewers; 214,000 adults 25-54
- MSNBC: 0.899 million viewers; 106,000 adults 25-54
- CNN: 0.570 million viewers; 116,000 adults 25-54
- HLN: 0.165 million viewers; 49,000 adults 25-54
- CNBC: 0.121 million viewers; 32,000 adults 25-54
- Fox Business Network: 0.121 million viewers; 13,000 adults 25-54
- Newsmax: 0.118 million viewers; 15,000 adults 25-54
- The Weather Channel: 0.103 million viewers; 18,000 adults 25-54
Prime Time (June 20-25 @ 8-11 p.m.; June 26 @ 7-11 p.m.)
- Fox News Channel: 2.201 million viewers; 310,000 adults 25-54
- MSNBC: 1.459 million viewers; 163,000 adults 25-54
- CNN: 0.657 million viewers; 133,000 adults 25-54
- HLN: 0.208 million viewers; 64,000 adults 25-54
- Newsmax: 0.193 million viewers; 25,000 adults 25-54
- CNBC: 0.192 million viewers; 63,000 adults 25-54
- The Weather Channel: 0.137 million viewers; 19,000 adults 25-54
- Fox Business Network: 0.069 million viewers; 10,000 adults 25-54
- NewsNation: 0.041 million viewers; 9,000 adults 25-54
Top 10 most-watched cable news programs (and the top programs of other outlets with their respective associated ranks) in total viewers:
1. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 6/20/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.528 million viewers
2. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Fri. 6/24/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.255 million viewers
3. January 6th Hearings “Hearing Day Five” (MSNBC, Thu. 6/23/2022 3:02 PM, 148 min.) 3.220 million viewers
4. The Five (FOXNC, Fri. 6/24/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.213 million viewers
5. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 6/23/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.185 million viewers
6. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 6/22/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.159 million viewers
7. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 6/20/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.111 million viewers
8. January 6th Hearings “Hearing Day Four” (MSNBC, Tue. 6/21/2022 1:02 PM, 158 min.) 3.019 million viewers
9. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 6/21/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.976 million viewers
10. Hannity (FOXNC, Fri. 6/24/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.856 million viewers
27. Attack On Democracy “Jan 6th Hearings 6/23/22” (CNN, Thu. 6/23/2022 3:02 PM, 147 min.) 2.428 million viewers
202. Real Time With Bill Maher “Episode 605” (HBO, Fri. 6/24/2022 10:01 PM, 59 min.) 0.817 million viewers
333. Last Week Tonight (HBO, Sun. 6/26/2022 11:00 PM, 35 min.) 0.469 million viewers
334. Full Frontal with Samantha Bee “Episode 7218” (TBS, Thu. 6/23/2022 10:00 PM, 30 min.) 0.463 million viewers
369. The Daily Show (CMDY, Tue. 6/21/2022 11:00 PM, 31 min.) 0.399 million viewers
383. Kudlow (FBN, Thu. 6/23/2022 4:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.368 million viewers
401. Forensic Files “In The Bag” (HLN, Tue. 6/21/2022 11:30 PM, 30 min.) 0.322 million viewers
462. Squawk On The Street (CNBC, Wed. 6/22/2022 9:00 AM, 120 min.) 0.260 million viewers
480. The Earth Unlocked “(102) Deserts” (TWC, Sun. 6/26/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.247 million viewers
811. Newsnation: Rush Hour (NWSN, Thu. 6/23/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.129 million viewers
Top 10 cable news programs (and the top programs of other outlets with their respective associated ranks) among adults 25-54
1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Fri. 6/24/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.529 million adults 25-54
2. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 6/20/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.498 million adults 25-54
3. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 6/23/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.493 million adults 25-54
4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 6/21/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.465 million adults 25-54
5. Hannity (FOXNC, Fri. 6/24/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.450 million adults 25-54
6. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 6/22/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.448 million adults 25-54
7. Attack On Democracy “Jan 6th Hearings 6/23/22” (CNN, Thu. 6/23/2022 3:02 PM, 147 min.) 0.441 million adults 25-54
8. Outnumbered (FOXNC, Fri. 6/24/2022 12:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.429 million adults 25-54
9. Gutfeld! (FOXNC, Fri. 6/24/2022 11:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.429 million adults 25-54
10. Gutfeld! (FOXNC, Thu. 6/23/2022 11:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.414 million adults 25-54
19. January 6th Hearings “Hearing Day Five” (MSNBC, Thu. 6/23/2022 3:02 PM, 148 min.) 0.367 million adults 25-54
110. Full Frontal with Samantha Bee “Episode 7218” (TBS, Thu. 6/23/2022 10:00 PM, 30 min.) 0.205 million adults 25-54
160. The Daily Show (CMDY, Tue. 6/21/2022 11:00 PM, 31 min.) 0.165 million adults 25-54
183. Last Week Tonight (HBO, Sun. 6/26/2022 11:00 PM, 35 min.) 0.150 million adults 25-54
198. Real Time With Bill Maher “Episode 605” (HBO, Fri. 6/24/2022 10:01 PM, 59 min.) 0.136 million adults 25-54
215. Very Scary People “Sammy ?The Bull? Gravano Pt 1” (HLN, Tue. 6/21/2022 12:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.130 million adults 25-54
302. Shark Tank (CNBC, Sun. 6/26/2022 11:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.099 million adults 25-54
549. Weather Gone Viral “(408) Challenging The Weather” (TWC, Wed. 6/22/2022 11:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.053 million adults 25-54
656. Varney & Company (FBN, Mon. 6/20/2022 9:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.042 million adults 25-54
725. Newsnation: Rush Hour (NWSN, Tue. 6/21/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.032 million adults 25-54
Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research
Douglas Pucci is a Bronx native and NYU graduate analyzing news television ratings for Barrett News Media. He did an internship at VH1’s “Pop Up Video” in 1997. After college, Pucci went on to design, build and maintain websites for various non-profit organizations in his hometown of New York City. He has worked alongside media industry observer Marc Berman for over a decade reporting on all things television, first at Cross MediaWorks from 2011-15 then at Programming Insider since 2016. Pucci also contributed to the sports website Awful Announcing. Read more: https://programminginsider.com/author/douglas/
What Chris Licht Got Right, and Wrong, During His CNN Tenure
Chris Licht faced an impossible mission of improving ratings without Donald Trump and with a staff he alienated.
The departure of Chris Licht from CNN was abrupt but expected after a string of missteps. His criticism of his predecessor Jeff Zucker spilled into criticisms of the network’s coverage of Donald Trump and the Covid pandemic, which undercut his staff. Journalists who stood up to conspiracy theories and election falsehoods from the very top felt betrayed.
I’ve known Chris for 30 years, when he served as an associate producer at a KNBC/CNBC for a daily half-hour program centered on the O.J. Simpson trial. Later, we were colleagues at NBC and kept in touch while he was at CBS and I was at ABC. He is whip-smart, congenial, worked well with big talents like Joe Scarborough, Charlie Rose, and Gayle King, and, until now, had a stellar track record.
And in his latest and biggest post — despite being put in an impossible position — did some things right, which I will highlight in a moment.
But first that impossible position. His new bosses at Warner Bros. Discovery wanted a restructuring and high ratings. They insisted on less calling out of misinformation and more “both sidesism”. So Licht had to derail the CNN train and then try to lift it back on the ratings track. No small job. Especially in a news climate that is in decline.
All the cable networks — who depended upon Donald Trump’s unpredictable, often treasonous and dangerous style — have suffered ratings decline. Fox numbers are down and so is MSNBC. The viewing public no longer has to tune in every minute of the day to see what the President is going to do or say. Life has largely returned to normal for most people.
So CNN, which could once depend upon airing and then fact-checking Trump’s latest absurdity, had to find new content.
Licht’s decision to emphasize down-the-middle news gathering seemed like a solid response to life without a bombastic — some say irrational — President.
Just cover the news, at which CNN is great. It’s the first place to turn during a mass shooting, a war, or natural disaster. But those are inconsistent events and cannot be depended upon for steady ratings. That’s the environment Licht stepped into.
He reacted with some good moves. His midday CNN News Central program, 3 hours of straight news, positions itself well to cover breaking news. It’s followed by Jake Tapper and Wolf Blitzer, also emphasizing news coverage.
However, unfortunately, the list of mistakes is a lot longer. Starting with Don Lemon. His “whole thing” in primetime was to be provocative and with a strong progressive bent. Licht attempted to turn Lemon into what he is not, an easy-to-watch, not opinionated host in the morning. A broadcast that was supposed to keynote the Licht agenda blew up in months. Lemon had an opinion on everything and could not get along with his co-hosts, which in morning TV is critical. The all-important chemistry was not there.
His meeting with Republican politicians on Capitol Hill to invite them back to CNN sent a message that they would no longer be challenged for disinformation. And Licht balanced the commentary panels on CNN with GOP election deniers who shouted over questions they could not answer, in turn sticking to talking points. A move that did little to attract viewers from Fox, and instead drove away legacy CNN viewers accustomed to progressive analysis and Republicans who respected opposite opinions.
Next, his attempt to normalize Donald Trump with a CNN Town Hall, somehow expecting the old rules of decorum would work became a disaster. Trump has to be covered. 30% of the electorate supports him, as do nearly 50% of Republicans. But a live Trump supporter audience overwhelmed Kaitlan Collins who was drenched by a firehouse of lies and deception.
And finally, there was Licht’s decision to make his criticisms of staff and their former coverage public in The Atlantic. A profile that made his gym trainer appear to be his top adviser.
To sum up: Chris Licht faced an impossible mission of improving ratings without Donald Trump and with a staff he alienated.
It was an opportunity wasted and a good man self-defeated.
Jim Avila serves as a weekly columnist for Barrett News Media. An Award-winning journalist with four decades of reporting and anchoring experience, Jim has served as Senior National Correspondent, 20/20 Correspondent, and White House Correspondent for ABC News. Prior to his time with ABC, he spent a decade with NBC News, and worked locally in Los Angeles and Chicago for KNBC, and WBBM. He can be found on Twitter @JimAvilaABC.
6 Tips For Dealing With Publicists
I’ll give you my rules for the people slinging guest pitches.
Especially for morning drive shows using the news wheel, ‘newsmaker’ guests are a part of the format. Beware of publicists that may be stealing bread from your station’s mouth. I’ll give you my rules for the people slinging guest pitches.
No Local Pitches From Publicists
We are often told to keep it local. I generally agree with that statement, but working with a local publicist is a bad idea. Publicists usually get paid for any appearance. If this is a local business, you are stealing money from your station’s bottom line. Why isn’t the guest purchasing advertising from the station?
Depending on the market, the publicist may be making enough money that would be better used on a spot campaign on your station. I programmed a station with the news wheel with “newsmaker” guests every half hour. A local doctor was talking about the ‘innovative’ procedure his office provides. Post-show, I called in the morning show host and producer. I asked if they stole from the company. These guys said, “No!”
Then I explained that the doctor was just given 12 minutes of free advertising. The publicist got paid and the station got nothing. I also explained that that the host could have made money with endorsement spots. Now, that was never going to happen. I suggested that the host speak with sales about this amazing doctor. Of course, the doctor never met with the account executive. Lesson learned.
You Are Enriching Them, So Make Them Work for Their Dough
You booked a guest from a publicist. Make them work for the money. Have them provide all the information that you need. A picture of the guest for social media. The interview is on your time, not theirs.
I had a publicist ask if I could pre-record their amazing guest at 4 in the afternoon, I said no. I only do guests live except in extraordinary circumstances. Occasionally, I’ll do a hit with one of the weekend syndicated hosts on my station. He does a local show at the same time that I am on the air. So, that is fine. I would pre-record Donald Trump and Joe Biden, but almost no one else.
It’s Your Show. Ask the Guest Your Questions.
If a publicist provides a list of suggested talking points, shred them. Do not do the interview for the guest or publicist, do it for your audience. Ask the questions that are focused on your listener.
The guest is getting free air time and the publicist is getting paid. If the guest and booker don’t like that? Who cares. I don’t do my show for them. I also never tell any guest about the questions that I could be asking. If there is a news story that is related to the guest, I am asking about that first. Being topical is your job.
The Emails Often Look Like the Endcap at Walmart
Here is what I mean: Publicist offers someone very cool. You contact them. The guest that the publicist offered is unavailable or ‘already’ booked at the time you need. So, the publicist highlights other potential guests that are not that appealing.
Just like the endcap at Walmart, the email looks appealing. Unfortunately, it is only to get you to open the email.
I received an email offering a really top guest that would be perfect for my show. I called the publicist and she told me that her guest was open at my time. Awesome. I thought that I had a good score.
I booked 3 days ahead and the publicist let me know that the guest was unavailable the afternoon before the interview. Since the guest was never confirmed, I didn’t promote it.
When to Cut Ties With a Publicist
If the guest slinger only provides people who are only wanting to sell stuff on your show? Move along. Obviously, all guests need to plug their stuff. We all know this.
About a decade ago, New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey was booked on The Dan Patrick Show. Part of the reason was he was going to plug Qualcomm. Well, Matt Harvey didn’t want to speak about anything but Qualcomm. It was a sales pitch and nothing else.
Publicists should have their clients prepped so that they are booked to talk about their expertise and will get a chance to plug their book or service.
How to Get Guests Off the Talking Points
In the ’90s, I produced The Barbara Carlson Show in Minneapolis. The great actor Karl Malden was booked to promote the Oscars.
Let’s say that Karl was not in the mood to discuss anything but the Oscars. So, Barbara wasn’t going to let Karl get away with it. She buttered him up, telling Karl that he had a sexy nose. Then Barbara asked Karl if he had snorted cocaine at those amazing Hollywood Parties.
80-year-old Karl lost his cool. She got him off the talking points. It became an interesting interview.
The publicist was really mad about this. It was really good radio. It’s always about good radio and not pleasing some guest that is a one-time hit. Please the audience. Make memorable radio.
We all use publicists. Realize that you are their meal ticket. I am always surprised that I don’t at least get a holiday card from the publicists that I use on a regular basis. Don’t be naïve about these people. Hey, we all must make a living. They are a tool for you to use as you please.
Peter Wilkinson Thiele is a weekly columnist for Barrett News Media. He currently serves as the program director, and morning host of Newstalk KZRG in Joplin, MO. Additionally, Peter has held programming roles in New York City, San Francisco, Little Rock, Greenville and Hunstville. He has also worked as a host, account executive and producer in Minneapolis, and San Antonio. You can reach him on Twitter at @PeterThiele.
Samantha Rivera Is What Every Live Reporter Should Strive For
Moxie. It’s a great word and it is not used enough these days. Maybe it’s not applied enough because not enough people have it, or not enough people show it. Samantha Rivera has moxie.
That is no patronizing remark, it is an unquestionable fact if you ask me, so do not even go there.
Samantha Rivera is a sports reporter for CBS News Miami, but she hit the jackpot in Las Vegas during a live shot at game two of the Stanley Cup Final.
What did she do you ask?
She did her job, with a flourish, strength, and without even breaking eye contact with the camera.
It’s the age-old story; a jersey-wearing nitwit sees the camera, the mic flag, and decides to bust in on the live shot.
Samantha Rivera’s live shot. And as we all have seen by now; she was not having it.
I am no play-by-play champion, so I recommend watching for yourself if you haven’t already. In this instance, watching an act of capability and composure takes extraordinarily little time.
Look, I still like sports and I still understand the motivation some fans have when they’re at a game or at a bar or even on the street outside the arena.
And as one of the inaugural season ticket holders for the Florida Panthers, a former South Floridian, and a guy who shares a first and a last name with the Panthers GM (I came along first, I checked), it’s not like I wasn’t keeping tabs on the game anyway.
But back to the fans, let us remember something: fan is short for fanatic or fanaticism.
Sports fans are much like those with strong political leanings, although in my observations sports fans usually have a little bit more on the ball and they possess a greater knowledge of the facts involved.
But we need to remember something else as well: reporter is short for somebody with a job, a job that has to get done, often in a challenging environment.
When the journalist meets the village idiot, for all our sakes the journalist has to win.
And Samantha Rivera won. And it was a victory we all should appreciate. News and sports coverage remained that one degree smarter as a result of a professional doing her job and doing it well.
We were spared a black eye, a dose of ridicule, and a round of catcalls because Samantha Rivera stepped up to the plate and went to bat for herself and for all of us really, and she did it at hockey game.
A great moment has gone viral, everybody is covering it and CBS Miami has an exceptional story to tell. They even got to interview their own reporter, a reporter who was the story.
This is one of those times when a reporter making the news is a good thing.
No idiot is calling a colleague a reprehensible name and getting fired here.
A professional’s personal life is not sending their career over a cliff in this scenario.
This time the reporter is seen pushing back against wrongful interference and emerging victoriously.
No big fight, no injuries, no penalty box.
Of course, there is at least one mutant out there still looking for high-fives for the half-second of screen time his shoulder and a third of his face got.
A live shot is not a “free swim” for the moronic, that lesson was reinforced in of all places, Las Vegas.
Live coverage is fun because it’s challenging but what I think should be called to attention here is how well Samantha Rivera handled things and did the job all while keeping a “take no shit” attitude.
I believe it’s a good representative look for a reporter.
That’s the way it’s done, the way it needs to be done and all the praise this pro among pros is getting is just.
Samantha Rivera now has the only shot she will ever need for her reporter reel.
So, in this case, it was a good thing that what happened in Vegas did not stay in Vegas.
Bill Zito has devoted most of his work efforts to broadcast news since 1999. He made the career switch after serving a dozen years as a police officer on both coasts. Splitting the time between Radio and TV, he’s worked for ABC News and Fox News, News 12 New York , The Weather Channel and KIRO and KOMO in Seattle. He writes, edits and anchors for Audacy’s WTIC-AM in Hartford and lives in New England. You can find him on Twitter @BillZitoNEWS.