Looks like a deep-dish double whammy today for CNN’s Chicagoland. First the 8-part docu series produced by Robert Redford‘s Sundance Productions got caught in a media hailstorm for being too chummy with one of its main subjects, Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Now the ratings are in for last night’s finale, and it ain’t pretty. Featuring an appearance from Windy City native Michelle Obama, the cable news series from filmmakers Marc Levin and Mark Benjamin drew 325,000 total viewers — a series low — and 132,000 adults 25-54 in its 10 PM slot. Those numbers are well behind the 1.22 million total viewers and 244,000 in the demo that Fox News Channel‘s Sean Hannity drew in the time slot and behind the 648,000 total viewers and 202,000 25-54s that MSNBC’s Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell pulled in.
Matching Chicagoland’s April 10 performance, last night’s finale was also tied a demo low for the series, which dipped 6% in total viewers compared with its April 17 broadcast and was down 16% in adults 25-54. Overall, the heavily promoted and highly stylized Chicagoland saw a 48% drop in total viewers from its March 6 debut and a 42% fall in the 25-54 demo.
Despite CNN boss Jeff Zucker’s stated aim to broaden the definition of news on the cabler, the run of Chicagoland was down an average of 29% in total viewers and 19% among adults 25-54 from the same period the year before. From March 7-April 25, 2013, the 10 PM slot occupied mostly by Anderson Cooper 360˚repeats had an average viewership of 642,000 and a demo of 217,000. Up dramatically from 2012, that period last year also saw the short-lived and low-rated (Get To) The Point experiment in the slot and wall-to-wall coverage of the fatal Boston Marathon bombings and the manhunt that ensued.
Chicagoland is exec produced by Redford with his Sundance Productions partner Laura Michalchyshyn and Levin and Benjamin of BCTV. The series premiered this year at the Sundance Film Festival.