CNN should have stuck with Rick Sanchez.
In its first week on the air, CNN's new 8 p.m. show, "Parker Spitzer," scored lower ratings than Sanchez's "Rick's List."
The hourlong roundtable with former New York State governor Eliot Spitzer and conservative columnist Kathleen Parker had an average audience of just 465,500 viewers for its debut week. "Rick's List" averaged 468,000 total viewers during its brief run in the same time slot this summer.
CNN announced "Parker Spitzer" back in June as a replacement for Campbell Brown, who struggled with low ratings. In the aftermath of Brown's departure, "Rick's List" was temporarily used at 8 p.m. from July 22 until Sept. 29.
Sanchez was fired Oct. 1 after an epic, emotional radio interview where he called Jon Stewart "a bigot," implied that Jews controlled the media and suggested that he was not chosen as a permanent option at 8 p.m. because CNN execs discriminated against him.
"Parker Spitzer" also lagged behind its current cable competition. Despite premiere buzz, CNN's new show posted lower numbers last week thanBill O'Reilly, Keith Olbermann and even Nancy Grace.
"The O'Reilly Factor" won the week for Fox News with 3.232 million total viewers in the same time slot. MSNBC got second place with an average of 1.079 million total viewers tuning in to watch "Countdown With Keith Olbermann" in the 8 p.m. hour. Headline News came in third with Nancy Grace, who averaged 550,000 total viewers, 16 percent more eyeballs than "Parker Spitzer."
"Parker Spitzer" failed to improve on Campbell Brown's performance in the time slot. Brown averaged 609,000 total viewers during the same week in 2009 and 545,000 total viewers from the first week of 2010 until her last show July 21.
Sanchez wasn't doing well in primetime, but "Parker Spitzer" doesn't look like a cure for CNN's ratings woes.