‘Cosby’ Debut Promising; ‘Situation Room’ Struggles

Aug 9, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Of the two major cable news programs that debuted Monday, MSNBC’s “Rita Cosby: Live and Direct” got off to a promising ratings start, while CNN’s “The Situation Room” with Wolf Blitzer did not.

According to data from Nielsen Media Research, “Rita Cosby” averaged 665,000 viewers, which is up 159 percent from what the 9-10 p.m. time slot averaged in July and is the best number MSNBC has done in that hour with regular programming in more than two years.

In the key news demographic of 25- to 54-year-olds, “Rita Cosby” averaged 245,000 viewers, up 206 percent compared with July and only about 20,000 viewers shy of MSNBC’s total-viewer average for its entire prime-time lineup last week.

Meanwhile, CNN lost some ratings ground from 3-6 p.m. with the debut of “The Situation Room.” For the three hours, CNN averaged 410,000 viewers, down 15 percent from the previous Monday, down 6 percent compared with July and flat compared with the comparable day in 2004.

In the demo, “Situation” was down 8 percent compared with the three hours the previous Monday and down 14 percent compared with both July and the comparable day in 2004.

On a big night in cable news, “Rita Cosby’s” performance was not enough to boost MSNBC out of fourth place in total viewers for the hour, but the new show starring the former Fox News personality did beat CNN Headline News phenom “Nancy Grace” by 4,000 viewers in the demo.

MSNBC’s “The Situation With Tucker Carlson” moved to 11 p.m. Monday and improved the time slot by 3 percent in the demo compared with the same hour in July while bringing in 19 percent fewer total viewers.

For the 9 p.m. hour, Fox News Channel’s “Hannity & Colmes” was the clear winner with 2.128 million viewers. CNN’s “Larry King Live” averaged 1.79 million viewers. Headline News’ “Nancy Grace” averaged 855,000 viewers.

Fox News Channel dominated the three afternoon hours with 976,000 viewers, even with the previous Monday, down 8 percent from July and up 6 percent year to year.

In third place for the three hours was MSNBC, with an average 155,000 viewers, which was down 9 percent from the previous Monday, down 3 percent compared with July and down 11 percent year to year.