CNN's 'Chicagoland' a Ratings Failure

CNN's 'Chicagoland' a Ratings Failure

When CNN’s Chicagoland debuted, the first episode of the multi-episode “documentary” was a ratings disappointment. But as subsequent episodes have debuted, that disappointment has grown, with each episode playing to fewer and fewer viewers.

As Breitbart News noted, the first episode of the documentary, which is little more than a love letter to Obama’s former Chief of Staff and now Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, was a ratings disaster.

“The heavily advertised debut garnered only 227,000 viewers in the important adults 25-54 demographic, with 629,000 total viewers,” Breitbart News reported on March 7. “It left Chicagoland in third place behind Fox News’ Hannity, with 1.43 million total viewers, and MSNBC’s Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell, which drew 816,000 total viewers.”

According to Nielsen Media Research, Chicagoland has steadily declined in ratings each week since its Thursday, March 6th debut. And with this past Thursday’s episode on March 20th, the show posted its lowest numbers since debuting, placing third in cable news at 10PM in total viewers. From its debut, the show was down 17% in total viewers and 24% in the important ages 25-54 demographic.

By comparison, Fox News’ Hannity had 1,478,000 total viewers, while MSNBC’s Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell earned 844,000 total viewers. Meanwhile, Chicagoland only garnered 521,000 total viewers.

This whole CNN documentary push was supposed to be one of those brilliant moves by new CNN head Jeff Zucker. When he debuted the documentary Blackfish last year it garnered huge ratings, and it was assumed that more documentaries would save the network and bring it back to the ratings prominence it once had.

But such has not been the case with subsequent CNN documentaries, and Chicagoland has been no exception to that downward trend.


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