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Chris Cuomo Boosts CNN’s Primetime Ratings by Double Digits in First 2 Months

Cuomo is up more than 30 percent in the demo and overall from Anderson Cooper’s time at the helm of 9 p.m

CNN’s high hopes for Chris Cuomo in primetime are showing signs of paying off with the show and its anchor making impressive gains in the notoriously tricky 9 p.m. timeslot.

In June, the month of his debut, Cuomo drew 1.129 million total viewers and 370,000 in the advertiser-coveted 25-54 year-old news demographic.

The numbers reflect gains of 33 and 35 percent, respectively, from May, when Anderson Cooper’s last month helmed the hour as well as his longstanding 8 p.m. show.

Cuomo’s numbers improved even further in July, to 1.15 million total viewers and 381,000 in the demo. “Cuomo Prime Time” is currently the highest rated show on CNN and its July performance is the best CNN has seen in that timeslot since 2009, according to Nielsen data.

It still isn’t all blue skies, however. Like Cooper before him, Cuomo remains far behind both MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” and Fox News’ “Hannity” in viewership at 9 p.m.

But his arrival seems to have slowed the ratings drain that has hit CNN in the last year. Cuomo drew 16 percent more total viewers (and 14 percent more in the demo) last month than Cooper did in the timeslot in July 2017.

A rep for CNN declined to comment.

Before his primetime transition, Cuomo served as co-host of CNN’s morning show “New Day.” Some feel that his tough, prosecuting style may be a better fit for evening viewers than those watching the network in the pre-caffeinated hours.

Since shifting to primetime, Cuomo has sought to employ those talents with tough long-form interviews with major newsmakers. The guests are often hostile to CNN (ensuring some onscreen contentiousness) and have included figures like White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and former Trump consigliere Roger Stone.

The Cuomo shuffle reflects CNN’s effort to navigate a middle path between Trumpian triumphalism at Fox News and MSNBC’s resistance fighters. That struggle is most clearly reflected in the primetime hours from 8 and 11 p.m., which are populated by television’s most sensational opinion hosts on the rival networks.

Despite the difficulties, CNN boss Jeff Zucker was recently given a vote of confidence by his new bosses at AT&T, inking a new contract to lead the channel through the 2020 elections.