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Killer Whales vs. Nuclear Power: CNN Finds Out It's No Contest Deadline

CNN may have learned a lesson the hard way last week -- learning that cable viewers apparently aren't as fond of documentaries about nuclear power as they are about killer whales. The cable news channel's Thursday night broadcast of "Pandora's Promise" delivered just 345,000 viewers, Deadline.com reports.

The nuclear-themed film, which was heavily promoted, represented a steep decline from CNN Films' "Blackfish," which drew 1.36 million total viewers in the same time period two weeks earlier, the story notes. "Pandora's Promise" attracted only 145,000 adults in the key news demo of adults 25-54, compared with 472,000 for "Blackfish," which is about killer whales kept in captivity.

"The fallout of 'Promise'’s low ratings Thursday night was that the Jeff Zucker-run CNN once again was far behind both Fox News Channel (2.54 million total viewers and 400,000 in the demo) and MSNBC (810,000 and 229,000) in both categories during the two-hour slot," the story reports.

The results, the report says, "can’t bode well for a cable network that just came off its lowest prime-time week in over a year and the worst since Zucker took over in January."

The piece adds: "CNN Films acquired the nuke-themed 'Pandora’s Promise' in April this year after it screened at the Sundance Film Festival and had a theatrical run. Such docus as 'Promise' and 'Blackfish' are a part of the network’s attempt to broaden its programming scope -- though with mixed results, obviously."

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