CNN Ratings Sink With Brianna Keilar, Jim Acosta in Chris Cuomo Time Slot

Available to WrapPRO members

CNN’s “Democracy in Peril” has yet to fill Cuomo void

brianna keilar jim acosta

CNN launched a new show, “Democracy in Peril,” two weeks ago in the 9 p.m. ET slot, which was previously occupied by ousted anchor Chris Cuomo. Ratings are in for the first two hosts, Brianna Keilar and Jim Acosta, and so far, the new program has not stopped the viewership decline.

Keilar was up first last week, helming the show at its outset. From Monday of last week to Monday of this week, CNN’s 9 p.m. hour averaged 556,000 total viewers, of whom just 139,000 were in the advertiser-coveted age demographic of 25 to 54. Compare that to Fox News’ Sean Hannity, whose competing program averaged 2.985 million total viewers Monday to Monday, with 426,000 in the demo, on average. CNN’s average total viewership number was closer to what Fox News pulled in the demo alone than it was to competing with Hannity’s total viewership. Rachel Maddow’s 9 p.m. show on MSNBC pulled in an average of 2.118 million total viewers, with 259,000 of them in the demo.

Notably, that average is skewed by last Thursday’s ratings. On the one-year anniversary of President Joe Biden’s inauguration, the 9 p.m. hour was hosted by Anderson Cooper, which led to a total average viewership of 607,000 with 170,000 in the demo.

Acosta took over this week. Ratings are available for Monday, when he got 511,000 total average viewers with 103,000 in the demo, on average. That is higher than Keilar’s debut on the 17th, which brought in 437,000 total average viewers, of whom 104,000 were in the demo, but lower than Tuesday, when Keilar commanded 629,000 total average viewers with 181,000 of them in the demo. Acosta’s demo totals on Monday were lower than any of Keilars’ or Cooper’s demo totals for the previous week.

For comparison, Fox News’ Hannity grabbed 2.967 million total viewers on Monday, of whom 430,000 were in the demo. MSNBC’s Maddow averaged 2.38 million total viewers with 324,000 in the demo on Monday.

The quest to fill Cuomo’s shoes has been ongoing since his sudden firing at the end of November. Michael Smerconish helmed the hour for some time, pulling in 184,000 demo viewers at one point, while Cooper also helped fill in. Still, Cuomo himself didn’t have stellar ratings: “Cuomo Prime Time” had its lowest-rated month ever in total viewers in November 2021. “Prime Time” averaged a total of 774,000 viewers in November, of whom 170,000 were in the advertiser-coveted 25 to 54 age demographic. (When the program, which had been test-run before its official debut, permanently launched the first week of June 2018, it averaged 1.137 million total viewers and 377,000 demo viewers.) 

Cuomo was fired amid an investigation into his involvement in advising his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, during the onslaught of sexual harassment accusations against the politician (which the former governor has denied). Chris Cuomo was suspended by CNN the week before his firing as the network undertook an investigation.