April Fool’s Day saw two cable news networks debuting shows – though one likely isn’t laughing very much and MSNBC’s All In hosted by Chris Hayes is probably very happy. With little promotion and announced just hours before its debut on Monday, the 10 PM premiere on CNN of (Get To) The Point saw a sharp drop from the Anderson Cooper 360 repeat that usually sits in the time slot. The second new show of the Jeff Zucker regime, The Point pulled in 278,000 total viewers and 80,000 in the Adult 25-54 demo. Intended right now to run for just one week, the panel show was down 45% from the AC360 encore in total audience from the same day last year and off 52% in the demographic. It was third in viewership and demo on the slot behind Fox News Channel’s On The Record With Greta Van Susteren and MSNBC’s The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell. In fact, last night’s The Point was the lowest rated show in CNN’s 10 PM ET slot in both total viewers and the demo all year.
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That’s in sharp contrast to what happened over on MSNBC with the 8 PM premiere of All In hosted by Chris Hayes. Announced less than a day after Ed Show host Ed Shultz announced his move to weekends on March 13, the new heavily promoted primetime series’ opening night was watched by 859,000 viewers with 298,000 in the 25-54 demo. That’s up 31% in viewership from the last Ed Show on March 22 and a walloping 90% rise from the 157,000 Shultz’s last weekday primetime show received. Hayes’ new show solidly bested the 458,000 audience and 102,000 demo that the new live AC360 got in the 8 PM slot Monday night. Hayes was well behind Bill O’Reilly’s show in viewership. Guest hosted by former Senator and recently added Fox Contributor Scott Brown last night, The Factor got 2.208 million viewers. However in the 25-54 demo, Hayes was just 12,000 behind O’Reilly’s show – a much tighter spread then Ed usually got.
In the bigger picture, FNC still held the upper cable news network upper hand. As it has for the last 45 quarters among Total Day and Primetime, the News Corp-owned network won the first quarter of 2013. With 1.065 million total day viewers and 214,000 in the demo and 1.731 million primetime viewers and 279,000 in the demo, FNC got more than the combined audience of second place MSNBC and third place CNN in both frames in viewership. However, with the action of last year’s Presidential primaries and campaign, all the news networks except CNN’s sister station HLN were down with Fox seeing the greatest drop-off. FNC was down 18% in Total Day among Adults 25-54 compared to last year and fell 34% in the demo in Primetime. That’s the lowest Total Day performance for Fox since the second quarter of 2006. O’Reilly’s The Factor was down 26% among the 25-54 demo, its lowest result since the third quarter of 2007. Hannity fell 28% in the demo for the 9 PM show. That’s the lowest result for the network in the slot since the third quarter of 2001. MSNBC was down 1% in the demo in Total Day from the first quarter of 2012 with 141,000 and slipped 4% in primetime from the same period. CNN was down 12% in its total day demo from 1Q 2012 with 122,000 and fell 31% in primetime demo from the first quarter of 2012 with 174,000. Even though CNN has struggled through the past few years, its 7 PM ET Erin Burnett Outfront saw a slight 5% rise in the Adults 25-54 demo over last year in the same quarter. AC360 at 8 PM also had a small rise. Cooper’s show was up 9% to 189,000 in the demo as compared to the 174,000 the show pulled in for the same quarter last year.