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CNN Dry New Years Eve Special Leads Cable News Ratings

It ranked as cable’s top adults 25-54 performance of the week (ending Jan. 1) outside of ESPN’s football coverage and Paramount Network’s “Yellowstone” and prequel series “1923”.

Doug Pucci



When New Year’s Eve lands on a Saturday, the least-watched night of the week, year-to-year audience declines for celebration coverage are the overall norm. But one network’s full coverage of New Year’s festivities on Dec 31, 2022 bucked the downward trend according to its key demographic of adults 25-54: CNN.

While the total linear audience of its “New Year’s Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen” from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. ET remained relatively steady (drawing 2.08 million, a mere two percent off from Dec. 31, 2021; as an aside, its streaming simulcast posted 38,000 viewers which is CNN digital platform’s second-best NYE figure on record), it jumped up 8 percent in the key demo by delivering 806,000 within the 25-54 age range, according to Nielsen Media Research.

It ranked as cable’s top adults 25-54 performance of the week (ending Jan. 1) outside of ESPN’s football coverage (pro and college) and Paramount Network’s Yellowstone and its prequel series 1923.

CNN also boasted a younger median audience than most of their New Year’s competitors. Its median age of 51 years old bested the likes of CBS’s “New Year’s Live: Nashville’s Big Bash” (57 years), NBC’s “Miley’s New Year’s Eve Party” (52 years) and Fox News’ “All-American New Yesr’s 2023” (67 years) during the 11 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET time period.

In addition, of that same 90-minute slot as the East Coast rang in 2023, CNN averaged 3 million total viewers (including 1.2 million adults 25-54) — down from the previous year’s 3.3 million but twice as much as FNC (1.5 million) and nearly matching what CNN drew back on NYE 2016. During that final hour of 2022, comedian Kevin Hart appeared on satellite from Las Vegas to advise CNN to let its hosts drink on the night; with this being the first NYE in the Warner Bros. Discovery era, all its hosts broke from recent years’ pattern to follow the no-alcohol edict.

Although it was a “dry” telecast, it did feature accidental utterances of foul language from its celebrity guests, the aforementioned Kevin Hart and Broadway legend Patti LuPone.

From 12:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. ET, CNN’s New Year’s Eve with Don Lemon drew 1.25 million total viewers including 499,000 in the 25-54 age range. While it represented declines of 14 percent (in viewers) and 19 percent (in demo) from last year, it was still enough to eke past FNC (1.1 million) in total audience but easily top FNC (240,000 adults 25-54) in the key news demo. And, like last year, Lemon’s New Year’s special was cable news’ runner-up telecast for the week among adults 25-54. 

In the overnight on CNN, a rerun of New Year’s Live with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen from 2:05-3:30 a.m. drew 608,000 viewers (with 225,000 adults 25-54); year over year, down 19 percent (and 11 percent, respectively), although last year’s encore began airing 30 minutes earlier (at 1:30 a.m. ET).

On Fox News, their one-hour 2022 retrospective Who Can Forget at 8 p.m. drew 1.35 million viewers (down 17 percent from Dec. 31, 2021), followed by a one-hour countdown special (958,000 viewers; roughly half of what Greg Gutfield’s Dec 31, 2021 New Year’s special had drawn). All-American New Year 2023 from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. averaged 1.35 million total viewers and 234,000 adults 25-54 — down 27 percent and down 35 percent, respectively, from Dec. 31, 2021, but still way ahead of the sub-1 million total viewer mark from Dec. 31, 2020. (FNC’s live New Year’s Eve coverage was only established in recent years.)

Cable news averages for December 26, 2022-January 1, 2023:

Total Day (Dec. 26-Jan. 1 @ 6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 1.102 million viewers; 134,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 0.632 million viewers; 67,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.558 million viewers; 124,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.208 million viewers; 40,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.117 million viewers; 29,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.114 million viewers; 20,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.088 million viewers; 8,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.086 million viewers; 7,000 adults 25-54

Prime Time (Dec. 26-31 @ 8-11 p.m.; Jan. 1 @ 7-11 p.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 1.341 million viewers; 136,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 0.831 million viewers; 79,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.688 million viewers; 183,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.303 million viewers; 59,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.188 million viewers; 61,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.147 million viewers; 19,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.101 million viewers; 5,000 adults 25-54
  • NewsNation: 0.090 million viewers; 16,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.056 million viewers; 8,000 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, Tue. 12/27/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.955 million viewers

2. The Five (FOXNC, Fri. 12/30/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.641 million viewers

3. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 12/28/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.627 million viewers

4. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 12/26/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.504 million viewers

5. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 12/29/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.330 million viewers

6. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 12/27/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.244 million viewers

7. Special Report with Bret Baier (FOXNC, Tue. 12/27/2022 6:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.100 million viewers

8. Your World with Neil Cavuto (FOXNC, Fri. 12/30/2022 4:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.084 million viewers

9. New Years Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen (CNN, Sat. 12/31/2022 8:00 PM, 270 min.) 2.082 million viewers

10. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Mon. 12/26/2022 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.067 million viewers

66. All In with Chris Hayes (MSNBC, Wed. 12/28/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.274 million viewers

348. The West Wing (HLN, Sun. 1/1/2023 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.387 million viewers

402. Shark Tank “Shark Tank 916” (CNBC, Tue. 12/27/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.314 million viewers

420. Varney & Company (FBN, Wed. 12/28/2022 10:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.302 million viewers

459. Highway Thru Hell “Ice Storm” (TWC, Sat. 12/31/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.270 million viewers

601. Newsnation: Rush Hour (NWSN, Mon. 12/26/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.189 million viewers

Top 10 cable news programs (and the top  programs of other outlets with their respective associated ranks) among adults 25-54:

1. New Years Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen (CNN, Sat. 12/31/2022 8:00 PM, 270 min.) 0.806 million adults 25-54

2. New Years Eve Live (CNN, Sat. 12/31/2022 12:30 AM, 95 min.) 0.499 million adults 25-54

3. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 12/27/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.315 million adults 25-54

4. All American New Year’s (FOXNC, Sat. 12/31/2022 12:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.314 million adults 25-54

5. The Five (FOXNC, Fri. 12/30/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.301 million adults 25-54

6. Your World with Neil Cavuto (FOXNC, Fri. 12/30/2022 4:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.296 million adults 25-54

7. Fox News Live (FOXNC, Mon. 12/26/2022 10:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.270 million adults 25-54

8. All American New Year’s (FOXNC, Sat. 12/31/2022 1:00 AM, 30 min.) 0.267 million adults 25-54

9. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 12/27/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.257 million adults 25-54

10. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 12/28/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.256 million adults 25-54

80. MSNBC Reports- Live (MSNBC, Fri. 12/30/2022 3:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.156 million adults 25-54

185. Shark Tank “Shark Tank 916” (CNBC, Tue. 12/27/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.113 million adults 25-54

258. The West Wing (HLN, Fri. 12/30/2022 12:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.087 million adults 25-54

417. Highway Thru Hell “Wreck. Recover. Repeat.” (TWC, Sat. 12/31/2022 4:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.054 million adults 25-54

534. Cuomo “Idaho Murder Suspect” (NWSN, Fri. 12/30/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.040 million adults 25-54

589. Varney & Company (FBN, Wed. 12/28/2022 9:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.035 million adults 25-54

Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research

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An Unofficial Radio Study Through the Eyes of Gen Z

We really need to step up if we’re going to have another generation of radio listeners, regardless of the distribution system.



A photo of 5 teenage friends

One of my non-radio pursuits since moving to Bowling Green has been to take advantage of a Kentucky law — KRS 164.284 — which grants free tuition to any state-supported institution of higher education for state residents who are 65 or older. That’s a lot of words, but put simply, those of us who are older can take university classes for free!  Bowling Green, besides being the home of the Corvette, is also home to Western Kentucky University. The name of the school is a little odd because this is south central Kentucky and you can drive two hours west of here and still be in the state. However, the team name, Hilltoppers, is deadly accurate as the school is on top of a hill in Bowling Green, and walking uphill to class burns quite a few calories.

I’m wrapping up my first class and for me, it’s my first university-level class as a student since the ‘80s. If you’re like me and haven’t taken a class this century, it’s different because, like most everything else, education has moved online. WKU uses Blackboard, an online tool, and I’ve adapted to sending in assignments and papers online as well as taking exams online in the comfort of my home office.

My reason for all this background is that in the last session of History 349, American History from 1945 to the Present, our instructor, Dr. Tony Harkins, asked us to form small groups and determine the three biggest events of the last 30 years. When each group presented their choices, one was unanimous: the Internet. Sure, there was 9/11, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the COVID pandemic, but no other choices were unanimous. Even 9/11 was problematic for most of the students as they weren’t alive when it took place 22 years ago.

That led to a class discussion and listening in, you really appreciate the difference in outlook when the rest of the group is a half-century younger than you! They referred to their parents adapting to being online and considering that I’m old enough to be a grandparent to any of them, it made me think back to my first PC, a Compaq dual floppy that I purchased in 1984.  The Hayes 1200 baud modem was almost $500 extra, but it was worth it to be that far ahead of the technology curve! They have never known a time without the smartphone, high-speed internet, and the ability to find out almost anything they want to know instantly.

Admittedly, a group of WKU history students is not a random sample and is not projectable to the population, but I also heard some misgivings about AI and the perils of the internet. They know the power of the internet to ruin people’s lives if used for nefarious purposes.

What does all this mean for radio? I wish I had been able to ask about their use of broadcast radio, if they use any at all, but to no great surprise, this group is in another world. That’s not a negative statement, but for all formats, we’ve done things the same way for so long that we likely don’t know another way to accomplish our tasks. Yes, radio is multi-platform like just about any other medium today, but as this cohort ages, what happens to our medium? 

I’m not the first to bring this up, but we really need to step up if we’re going to have another generation of radio listeners, regardless of the distribution system. What will it take to make radio relevant to their needs and desires? Being in close quarters with them for a class lets me see some of the similarities of what I can remember from my undergraduate days and their different attitudes and experiences, which are very different from what I went through in the ‘70s. 

Time to study for this week’s final (I’m auditing, but for the purpose of keeping my brain busy, I do all the required work)! If you’re in the golden years like me, you might want to consider going back to school, too. Most states have some kind of tuition waiver (for more info about your state’s options) and try it out!  Not only will you learn something and interact with much younger people, you can even get student discounts as well!  Thanks to Dr. Tony Harkins for putting up with me for the semester and “Go Tops!”.

Let’s meet again next week.

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Hollie McKay Has Seen The Good and Bad of Foreign Conflict

“They sort of called on me to give them a little bit of my human experience and storylines and I guess, make the experience of that video game a little bit more human-based as opposed to very military,”



A photo of Hollie McKay

Young, slender, and tenacious, Independent Journalist Hollie McKay has dedicated her career to immersive war and foreign relations storytelling but the job doesn’t come easy.

“It’s something you have to be willing to fight for,” she said over Zoom. Since 2006, Hollie McKay has traveled the world, chasing some of the biggest wars and foreign conflicts of our time, spending much of her career in countries like Syria, Afghanistan, and Ukraine.

Growing up in North Queensland, Australia, McKay never saw writing as a career. She wanted to be a ballet dancer. At 18, a broken ankle changed those plans. “I sort of had to go back to school and to university, got bored a little bit, and ended up going to New York to finish my degree.”

A “random” internship turned into her zealous passion. “It’s all a really big baptism by fire,” she recalled, “I really had to kind of teach myself what journalism was in many ways, because it predated the social media era.”

Her internship was with the then up-and-coming Fox News Digital department, a place she stayed for 14 years. “You could write, you could get a byline, you could go out and do things, I found that to be really sort of fascinating and do it all sort of in that real-time,” McKay said.

Beginning in Los Angeles she covered everything from The Oscars to the courtroom but travel ignited a passion. “[I] was just very interested in the foreign space. And that was more out of curiosity than anything because I felt like I was learning things that I should have learned in school, things that I felt like, why didn’t I know this if I didn’t know this? How many other people didn’t know this?”

For Hollie McKay, reporting on a foreign conflict without her boots on the ground was not an option. “I wanted to go to these places and live with people and spend as long as I could really there and be part of their communities,” she said.

Becoming a part of the community is what distinguished her stories from those of other journalists of our time but it does have risks.

Danger is always present in a war zone but it rarely, if ever, fazed McKay. “I always felt quite comfortable in places that I think the majority of people would probably want to have no part of,” she said.

From 2014-2019 she documented the rise and fall of ISIS, spending much of her time in Syria and Iraq. Her presence in the region allowed millions of readers to comprehend the human toll of war. Her reporting also gave life to a character in the video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.

“They sort of called on me to give them a little bit of my human experience and storylines and I guess, make the experience of that video game a little bit more human-based as opposed to very military,” she said.

She brought the human experience again in 2020 when the Taliban took over the Afghani government. “You just sort of saw the Taliban coming in on motorcycles and shooting in the air. And and that was that. There really was no resistance,” McKay recalled, “We certainly didn’t know how the Taliban was going to respond to a woman, to a journalist, to a Westerner. And it was a lot of unknowns.”

The Taliban let her stay for several months before she left on her own accord in December 2020 saying, “It was probably the most rewarding aspect of my career. I think, in that I felt like I could really be there in that very crucial moment and document what was happening and document the changes as they were happening in real time.”

She criticized media coverage of the takeover, saying “You look on social media and you see sort of very alarming stories and headlines, which, some of it is true, but an awful lot of it was just not. So it highlights for me the importance of having that on the ground perspective and experience.”

In contrast, her coverage of the War in Ukraine just a few months later was jarring. “I did find it to be a kind of stressful, overwhelming experience. And it highlighted to me that the challenge actually, of working independently,” McKay said.

However, she stressed the importance of independent journalism saying, “There is so many different agendas and backgrounds and my goal with it is to be able to come with something without sort of any political background or bias in that and to hopefully deliver a story that is of interest to people. And that’s at the end of the day, that’s the best that I could do.”

She calls war reporting nothing more than a balancing act saying, “I don’t think that any story is worth you losing your life or someone around you that is helping you, losing their life.” She noted, “I think if you can get to the story as much as you can, whilst kind of weighing up the challenges around that, then that is something that is worthwhile doing.”

While the players at war change, there is one common thread she found for the average person living in a conflict zone. “War is a funny thing in the sense that you really do see the worst of humanity in the bombing and the violence and sort of the ugliness,” she said, “But you also see the incredible good of human beings in that, too. And everywhere you go, you see people supporting one another.”

Reflecting on her nearly 20-year career she made one thing clear, “Nothing was ever handed to me… Everything I did in my career I had to push for.” McKay’s advice to aspiring journalists is to be relentless, “You’re going to have to be prepared to fight. In many cases, you may not make a lot of money,” she continued on with this example, “I was talking to [a friend] and in early in his career, he made less than $10,000 a year. So it’s really a job that you have to be prepared to do it because you really want to do it and you love it and you can’t imagine doing anything else.”

McKay is not sure what comes next, currently, she is in motherhood-bliss, giving birth to a child this year but travel in the future is not out of the question, “I think life is chapters and we don’t want to be stuck in the same chapter forever and we want to continue to grow and branch out and see what else we can do to evolve,” she continued on to say, “I’ll always be connected to wars and humanitarian issues, and I will continue to travel to the best of my ability.”

Hollie McKay is the author of three books, Afghanistan: The End of the U.S. Footprint and the Rise of the Taliban Rule, Only Cry for the Living , and Words that Never Leave You. She is also an Ambassador for Emergency USA and Burnt Children Relief Foundation.

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Broadcast Attorney Steven A. Lerman Reminisces About Radio’s Heyday in New Memoir

“When I wrote the book, I was very mindful of both defamation and, even more problematic, attorney-client privilege.”

Andy Bloom



A phot of Steven A. Lerman
(Photo: Lerman Senter)

If the name Steven A. Lerman doesn’t immediately ring a bell, you are forgiven. Steve served as the de facto General Counsel for Infinity Broadcasting and then for CBS Radio, among many other credits. Those who attended any of the legendary Infinity Managers Meetings saw Steve’s presentations on FCC regulatory issues and compliance.

Lerman wrote a book called, The Enchanted Path: My Unexpected Journey from Loss to Leadership, which is out now. I highly recommend it to broadcasters, and anyone interested in broadcasting or curious about the path to the top of any competitive field.

I first met Lerman in 1986, less than a year after joining Infinity Broadcasting as program director of WYSP in Philadelphia. After years of poor ratings, our first attempt to set the station on the right and good path was to dismiss most of the veteran airstaff over Labor Day Weekend 1985, something Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Gail Shister referred to as “The Labor Day Massacre” for years afterward.

I had information that at least one person might not accept termination gracefully. Indeed, one air staff member screamed that I couldn’t fire them before storming out of my office. Several months later, the station received a lawsuit over that termination.

A few weeks later, Infinity’s general counsel, Steven A. Lerman, came to Philly to strategize how to deal with the lawsuit. I was scared. I’d been there less than a year and had little to show for my efforts, I didn’t know the company’s appetite for a lawsuit, but I also knew the truth was on my side.

In that era, we let people go by calling them into our office without the aid of an HR person or, for that matter, anybody else.

I told Lerman that the claims were fiction and that nothing remotely similar to the allegations happened. Further, I could prove it.

I had recorded the entire episode, starting before the person entered my office through their storming out and slamming the door. Lerman listened to the recording. Then, a wry smile appeared on his face. 

I vividly remember Lerman saying: “I have good and bad news. The bad news is that you broke the law by recording them surreptitiously. Don’t do that again. The good news is that the lawsuit is over and done.”

Lerman pocketed the tape, and the meeting ended in less than 15 minutes. I never heard another word about the lawsuit.

I dealt with Lerman regularly over the years. Especially when the FCC began targeting Howard Stern, and the definitions of indecency and obscenity became moving targets.

Lerman explained indecency by telling us to imagine him reading a transcript of Stern in front of the Supreme Court. It was an amusing thought. Lerman’s delivery is dry and monotone. Think Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

The Enchanted Path: My Unexpected Journey from Loss to Leadership details the Stern FCC battles, including Lerman’s meetings with two FCC Chairmen (one which is particularly humorous) and when Stern signed with Sirius Satellite Radio, and the relationship became adversarial.

He writes short, crisp chapters that give readers a taste of his dealings with Stern, as well as Don Imus, O.J. Simpson, Oliver North (another project Lerman and I worked together on), Bob Kraft, G. Gordon Liddy, Donald Trump, Mel Karmazin, and the many important people in his life.

I asked Lerman if he considered sharing more stories and details about the many celebrities he encountered and the legal issues. He told me, “As a media/constitutional lawyer when I wrote the book, I was very mindful of both defamation and, even more problematic, attorney-client privilege, which limited what I could say and how I could say it.”

Several times in the book, he states that confidentiality clauses prevent him from sharing details of the outcome. Yet Steven A. Lerman provides enough insight into the legal situations, specifically who had leverage, that the reader gets a good idea of who walked away the winner in each case.

The greatest details and biggest surprises are about Lerman’s personal life, starting with the death of his father when he was 12 years old. His mother remarried twice, and both men died young. That is the “loss” referred to in the title.

There is a chapter devoted to his mother, each of the two men she remarried, his grandmothers, and many other people (as well as one dog) who were vital in forming who he is today.

He reveals a lot about himself, including an incident with an elementary school teacher, brushes with the law, drugs, his health issues, the end of his first marriage, the sad death of an associate, how he got into Penn, his first job out of law school, his love for Boston sports teams – especially the Red Sox, and much more. Although Lerman presents the topics with good humor, they are not all flattering, although he does make a good case for his golf game.

If Lerman’s primary goal were to sell the maximum number of books, he would have filled the pages with more colorful celebrity stories. But that wasn’t what he set out to do. “I wrote the book to explain the arc of my life; it’s more about how I turned a challenging start into a philanthropic, impactful, worthwhile finish,” Lerman told me. On that level, he succeeded spectacularly.

The book also explains how Steve Lerman became who he is – which is a genuinely decent, kind, intelligent, and giving person. In the book, somebody refers to him as a mensch. Steve Lerman is a mensch, and the book is a blueprint for becoming one.

I highly recommend The Enchanted Path: My Unexpected Journey from Loss to Leadership by Steven A. Lerman, which is available on Amazon now.

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