Friday night was no fun for either Seth MacFarlane or Jeff Zucker. The former had the beginning of what was a face-plant of a weekend with his Western comedy A Million Ways To Die In The West while the CNN boss suffered his news network’s worst result in the 10 PM slot in 14 years. Scratching with an average of just 35,000 viewers among Adults 25-54, CNN dropped hard to a snake belly level not seen since May 9, 2000. Back on that very quiet Tuesday night during the last year of the Bill Clinton’s Presidency, the cable news network had 33,000 viewers among the news demo. The all-time low for CNN in the 10 PM slot was on June 16, 1999 when it sunk to 32,000 among the 25-54s on a Wednesday night.
Unlike its competitors, CNN didn’t have a single show filling the whole hour on Friday. Perhaps telling of how badly the star-studded In The West was going to do at the box office (just $17 million), CNN’s half hour 10 PM Spotlight featured a profile of MacFarlane. It was not well watched with just 42,000 in the demo and 262,000 overall tuning in. At 10:30 PM, the Rachel Nichols-hosted sports show Unguarded pulled in an all-time demo low with just 29,000 watching. In terms of total viewers, Unguarded hit a new low with a mere 101,000 watching. At least with 182,000 total viewers in the hour, CNN wasn’t dead last among cable news networks. It beat CNBC’s Ultimate Factories’ 181,000 – by a hair.
The 10 PM hour slot this May 30 was also down a crushing 66% from the same slot the week before for a primetime night that became CNN’s second-worst result of the year so far. With just 66,000 watching among adults 25-54, CNN placed fifth behind frontrunner Fox News Channel, MSNBC, CNBC and sister station HLN. In the 10 PM slot, FNC’s Sean Hannity got 210,000 in the demo – five times more than CNN. Hannity actually saw a rise from his 155,000 demo draw of May 30. Overall, FNC quadrupled CNN among Adults 25-54 with 262,000 in the demo between 8 – 11 PM on Friday. MSNBC was an easy second with 104,000 among the 25-54s watching. In total primetime viewers, FNC was No. #1 with 1.71 million, MSNBC was second with 362,000 and CNN was a distant third with 284,000.