CNN's great 8 p.m. hope, Parker Spitzer, garnered lackluster ratings in its debut Monday night, trailing Fox News Channel, MSNBC, and CNN's own sister network HLN. Television critics, meanwhile, savaged the program.
The new chat show, which features disgraced former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Kathleen Parker, registered 468,000 viewers, fewer than six times less than The O'Reilly Factor on Fox News, which chalked up 3.1 million viewers.
MSNBC's Keith Olberman came in second place with 1.1 million viewers, followed by HLN's Nancy Grace, with 468,000.
Two alarming, additional data points: First, Parker Spitzer registered a paltry 118,000 viewers in the coveted 25-54 demographic, and second, the program actually shed viewers from the previous show, John King USA, despite being relentlessly flogged in the previous hour. In other words, people knew it was coming up, and changed the channel anyway.
CNN averages 512,000 viewers in primetime during the week, so Parker Spitzer didn't even measure up to that.
CNN and HLN are owned by Time Warner (TWX). MSNBC is owned by NBC Universal, part of conglomerate GE (GE), and soon to be owned by cable giant Comcast (CMCSA). Fox News Channel is owned by News Corp. (NWS).
Early reviews for Parker Spitzer have not been positive, to put it mildly.
8 p.m. cable news ratings:
FNC: 3,112,000 (722,000 in 25-54)
MSNBC: 1,115,000 (329,000 in 25-54)
HLN: 468,000 (149,000 in 25-54)
CNN: 454,000 (118,000 in 25-54)