Ratings at Fox News Plummeting
by Jonathan Singer, Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 08:59:29 PM EDT
For quite some time, Fox News has sat atop the ratings among the cable news networks -- by a fairly large margin. But as the trade magazine Broadcasting & Cable reports, the ratings at Fox -- particularly among the most important age demographic -- is dropping precipitously, worrying some of the big brass at News Corporation.
Slackers at Fox News Channel, you're on notice! Your boss is not pleased. Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes is on the warpath following his network's recent ratings slump, and he won't hesitate to clean house to turn things around.
So far during the second quarter, the No. 1 cable news channel's primetime schedule has dropped 22% in its core 25-54 demo and 8% in total viewers. The first quarter was even worse.
Production values are slipping, and bookers aren't competitive enough, relying too heavily on the same pool of faces and settling for authors or actors after they've already been on CNN or ... gasp ... MSNBC.
We as progressives have our work cut out for us in creating the type of infrastructure that helps conservatives maintain their political power, but the balance may soon be shifting in our favor. Ratings at Fox News are down two quarters in a row -- and not by insignificant amounts. A look at the most recent primetime ratings available on the TV Newser blog shows that MSNBC's "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" is edging ever closer to Fox News' big star, Bill O'Reilly, among the much-coveted 25-54 demographic (although Olbermann continues to trail big among all viewers).
And it seems that some progressives may be ready to invest the requisite dollars to bring some parity to the realm of cable as I found out at the Yearly Kos convention earlier this month.
But, as of this writing at least, the most interesting and important thing I heard during the duration of Yearly Kos was that progressives of means were contemplating the purchase of media outlets -- including television networks -- to help counteract the effect of the vast conservative media, from talk radio to Fox News. If these discussions come to fruition and a wholly progressive network of television and radio stations are able to reach the bulk of American voters, we will be able to greatly hasten the day when we are able to continue building on the forward-thinking policies of the New Deal era and the 1960s. Gauging by the seriousness with which some of the convention's attendees discussed this effort, I am cautiously optimistic that change could come sooner rather than later.
The ratings slide at Fox News only increases the optimism I found at the Yearly Kos convention.