Ronan Farrow may have an uphill ratings battle at MSNBC if Monday’s premiere is any indication. The incoming anchor averaged just 46,000 viewers in cable news’ targeted adults 25-54 demo during his inaugural Feb. 24 telecast of Ronan Farrow Daily.
That’s down 51 percent from the 1 p.m. hour’s February average, putting it third behind Fox News Channel’s America’s News Headquarters and CNN’s Wolf. The 26-year-old Farrow also ranked third with 216,000 viewers. That number, down 26 percent, ties it with Jansing & Co. as the smallest MSNBC show of the day.
First-day ratings should always be taken with a grain of salt in the fluid cable news landscape, but it is not the most promising start for the broadcast. In a bid, in part, to appeal to a younger set, MSNBC first approached Farrow last summer. “Within 20 minutes I just knew that he had a certain presence and confidence,” said MSNBC president Phil Griffin. “He knew what he wanted to say. I just had a sense that the guy could do it. Whatever that thing is that enables people to communicate really well, he had it.”
But Farrow’s audience skewed decidedly older. Among adults 18-49, he averaged just 21,000 viewers.
Monday also brought the premiere of Joy Reid‘s The Reid Report. She drew a bigger audience than her lead-in, with 262,000 viewers at 2 p.m., but she faltered more with adults 25-54. The telecast brought in just 38,000 in the key demo.
Both debuts come at the end of a February that saw cable news’ rankings remain fixed — with FNC topping total day and primetime with both total viewers and adults 25-54. The network was the only one to grow in primetime, up 3 percent in the demo from the same period last year. Total viewership increased 6 percent, making it No. 3 in all of cable.
MSNBC enjoyed a solid February, retaining second-place status with only modest primetime losses compared to a year ago. It was the only network to improve its demo showing in total day, up 3 percent.
Another challenging month for CNN saw primetime ratings suffer most of all — ranking as the third-smallest ever in total viewers. Between 8 and 11 p.m., CNN fell 39 percent to an average 399,000 total viewers and 31 percent to 134,000 viewers in the demo.
This past weekend brought news that Piers Morgan will vacate the network’s 9 p.m. time slot — likely in March.