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Ratings: CNN Posts Worst Quarter in 21 Years

"Piers Morgan Tonight" yields lowest timeslot performance for news network since at least 1991

Bad news for CNN — the network saw its lowest ratings since 1991 in the second quarter of 2012 in both the Monday-Friday and Monday-Sunday categories, according to data from Nielsen Media Research.

During the quarter, CNN averaged just 468,000 total viewers during weekday primetime, with 142,000 viewers in the key 25-54 demographic. For the Monday-Sunday primetime, the network fared even worse, averaging 446,000 total viewers and 129,000 in the key demographic.

Worse still for CNN: The quarter's numbers might even represent a greater-than-21-year-low, since the 1991 is the first year that ratings data was compiled in the categories. (CNN was launched in 1980.)

Also read: CNN Cancels 'John King, USA'

Taking particularly big hits: The recently canceled "John King, USA" in the 6 p.m. hour, which dropped 53 percent in the key demo compared to the second quarter of 2011 to its lowest performance in that demographic since the third quarter of 2000. "Anderson Cooper 360" also took a hit, showing its weakest quarters in more than a decade for its 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. airings in both ratings and total viewers.

"Piers Morgan Tonight" also had a rough quarter — the series, which premiered in Jan. 2011, dropped 32 percent in the key demo and 27 percent in total viewers compared to the second quarter of last year, marking the network's worst quarterly ratings in the 9 p.m. timeslot since at least 1991, the first year for which data is available.

The good news for "Anderson Cooper 360" and "Piers Morgan Tonight"? Despite the losses, they were still leaders for CNN in the second quarter, with "AC360" drawing top numbers in the key demo and "Piers Morgan" taking top honors in total viewership.