The roller coater ride of CNN’s Jeff Zucker regime continued this weekend with the rickety premiere of Unguarded on the cable news network. Hosted by longtime ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols, the 10:30 PM sport show failed to score with viewers on Friday night. At least Unguarded didn’t have to face off against a World Series game on Friday as the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals had a night off. However, up against slot winner Fox News’ special on contributor Charles Krauthammer as well as MSNBC’s newish Up Late With Alec Baldwin and sister station HLN, the 30 minute Unguarded pulled in 288,000 total viewers and a mere 92,000 in the adults 25-54 demo. Compared to year-to-date results, that’s 50% fall in the demo and a 45% drop in total viewers, according to Nielsen. It’s also down almost 30% in both viewers and the 25-54s from what CNN has been doing in the slot in Q3 2013 so far. Over the entire 10 PM – 11 PM hour, CNN had 405,000 viewers and with 135,000 in the demo. That’s a last place finish overall for the new show and a last place finish in the demo for the cable news network. FNC had 2.55 million viewers with 357,000 in the key demo while MSNBC had 553,000 viewers and 142,000 in the demo and HLN had 360,000 total viewers and 169,000 among the 25-54s. CNN hired Nichols in January soon after Zucker formally took over the news network. The launch of her weekly show was delayed earlier this fall from its initial September 20 debut.
Related: ESPN’s Rachel Nichols Join CNN
As one new show floundered, CNN announced today that another would be back. The Morgan Spurlock-hosted Inside Man will return for a Season 2 in 2014, the network said. “Inside Man is the perfect example of the type of program our audience is looking for when we aren’t covering the news of the day,” said CNN boss Zucker in a statement Monday. Since taking over earlier this year, Zucker has talked about CNN broadening its notion of what news is and how it is to be covered. Since its debut in June, Inside Man has been a steady but not stellar numbers show for CNN. The one-hour weekly series joins Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown in being a non-hard new returning program CNN announced late last month that Parts Unknown would be back for a third cycle next year.