“CBS This Morning,” which had showed signs of ratings resurgence under co-anchors Charlie Rose and Gayle King,” has collapsed in the year since Rose was ousted by CBS and PBS after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct.
Viewership for the weekday morning show, which was already in last-place among its key competition well before Rose’s removal on Nov. 21, 2017, have plummeted double digits in the past year.
Since September, when the new season started, “CBS This Morning” is down 16 percent compared to the same period last year among adults aged 25-54 (808,000 per day) — the key age range for news programming — and down 14 percent in total viewers (3.11 million), according to Nielsen’s Live + Same Day ratings metric.
In comparison, NBC’s “Today” (which had its own #MeToo shakeup with the ouster of co-host Matt Lauer) had 1.39 million viewers in the key 25-54 demo and 4.08 million total viewers. And ABC’s “Good Morning America” had 1.24 million in the 25-54 demo, and 4.11 million total viewers.
(If you’re wondering, we carried those shows out to an extra decimal to break the “GMA”-“Today” rounding tie.)
Sadly, the Rose-led broadcast had helped to narrow the gap between its better-known, more-watched competitors. After CBS relaunched its weekday morning show with Rose and co-anchor Gayle King in 2011, ratings climbed 37 percent, from 2.63 million total viewers to 3.59 million in 2017 — even as viewership at “Today” and “GMA” dropped significantly. (Norah O’Donnell replaced holdover Erica Hill as the show’s third anchor in 2012.)
Away from the Nielsen sheets, collateral damage from the Rose fallout does not seem to have wrapped up just yet.
Five days ago, executive producer Ryan Kadro stepped down from “CBS This Morning” shortly after the network settled a lawsuit that said Kadro had ignored complaints by women about Rose. Kadro has not publicly addressed that allegation, and a network spokesperson said Kadro’s exit talks “are unrelated to the settlement.”
On Monday, Page Six reported that Kadro’s and Rose’s former colleague, “CBS This Morning” anchor Gayle King, is “furious” about all of her company’s ongoing misconduct issues, which span both CBS’ entertainment and news departments.
A rep for CBS News declined to comment; however, a spokeswoman for the network’s media division confirmed that disgraced “60 Minutes” boss Jeff Fager’s prior oversight of CBS News covered the first three years of Rose’s “CBS This Morning” tenure. So there’s that.
Fager resigned as head of “60 Minutes” in mid-September, just three days after Leslie Moonves was forced to step down as chairman of CBS. Both executives were accused of sexual misconduct by a slew of women. Fager and Moonves have denied many of the accusations against them.
Some of the ratings slide at “CBS This Morning” is part of an industry-wide drop in morning viewership. “Today,” for example, is down 8 percent in the demo and 4 percent overall versus the fall of 2017. ABC’s “GMA” has dropped 11 percent among adults 24-54 and 5 percent in total viewers.
There are other ways to look at CBS’ morning show ratings declines in the post-Rose era, but none of them are good. In the 12 months following his departure, the series has performed 14 percent worse among adults 25-54 and 9 percent worse overall than it did in the previous year.
And calendar year-to-date, it’s off 15 percent and 11 percent, respectively.
In other words, yes, every angle is worse than what’s ailing CBS’ morning show competition. But on the bright side, at least they didn’t have to deal with the fallout from Matt Lauer and Megyn Kelly.