One year after debuting them with unimpressive numbers, MSNBC finally threw in the towel on Ronan Farrow’s show and The Reid Report because the botched experiment with going after the multi-platform generation was flatlining.
In February 2015, compared to Andrea Mitchell Reports in the same time slot in February 2014, Farrow’s show is down 27% in overall audience, to 212,000 viewers. More impressively, MSNBC has taken a nosebleed dive of 70% in the news demo with the guy they thought was the next It Boy Of Journalism, to a paltry 28,000 viewers, versus Mitchell’s 93,000.
Meanwhile, Fox News Channel’s Happening Now is averaging 226,000 news demo viewers in Farrow’s time slot, and CNN’s Wolf is averaging 144,000.
Reid Report, at 2 PM, actually was doing better than Farrow, though you’d never know it for all the promoting of Farrow the network was doing relative to Reid. She was clocking 243,000 viewers in February – down 23% from NewsNation’s 315,000, but a plunge of 67% in the news demo from NewsNation’s 93,000 demo viewers to 31,000.
And, in Reid’s time slot, Fox News’ Real Story is averaging 190,000 news demo viewers, and CNN Newsroom is clocking 153,000.
An MSNBC rep describes today’s move as part of a “larger strategy to grow our news-gathering and content center.” The programming changes and “investments in its dayside news coverage” will help the network become “more nimble and integrated” with the news operation, which it believes will better position the network to cover big stories and do more in-depth original reporting and interviews. The rep said the network is moving to more news-focused dayside coverage, with Thomas Roberts to anchor a new daily two-hour block of news programming from 1-3 PM.
Today’s buzz word at MSNBC is “news-focused.” With this move, MSNBC dayside programming will now feature news-focused coverage beginning at 9 AM with The Daily Rundown and continuing through 3 PM, which includes news-focused coverage provided by Tamron Hall at 11 AM and Andrea Mitchell at 12 PM. Roberts, who also anchors a show on Shift, has years of experience anchoring dayside coverage for MSNBC during breaking news coverage. (Roberts also has hosted Miss Universe and been a co-host of The View). His new role will begin on March 2nd and Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski will fill in anchoring MSNBC’s Way Too Early until a permanent replacement is named.
Reid will become MSNBC’s national correspondent, and will produce original reporting for all platforms. She will return to her roots, as a multi-platform journalist with a respected and distributed take on the news, and will serve as a regular contributor for MSNBC’s primetime shows, and will become the first dedicated reporter for NowThisNews, which has been partnering with MSNBC to significantly expand production and distribution of video content to reach younger audiences who live and consumer media predominantly on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, Tumblr and other social platforms.
Farrow will launch a new series of primetime specials, featuring in-depth interviews with newsmakers, business leaders, artists, athletes, filmmakers, advocates, and elected officials. He will also continue to be a special correspondent featured across MSNBC’s programming. This is a role he has been laying the groundwork for throughout the past year, interviewing President Jimmy Carter, Angelina Jolie, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Miley Cyrus, former presidential contender Mitt Romney, Gwen Stefani, and the first television interview with Malala Yousafzai after she won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Ronan’s series also will focus on his in-depth reporting from the field; he most recently traveled to Paris in January in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, and secured the first interview with Jeannette Bougrab, the partner of slain Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier. In addition to his focus on interviews, in his new role, Ronan will continue his partnership with the NBC News Investigative Unit.
Both Reid and Farrow will work closely with The Bridge, MSNBC’s editorial news hub directing coverage for digital and dayside.
Yesterday, MSNBC announced Tom Colicchio, award-winning chef, restaurant owner, founder of Crafted Hospitality, is joining the network as its first-ever food correspondent for all platforms.
The wonder is MSNBC stuck with Reid’s show, and particularly Farrow’s, so long. In February 2014, Farrow‘s debut as host scored 216,000 viewers — the cable network’s smallest audience of the day, tied with 10 AM’s Jansing & Co. Farrow — who was recruited, in part, to attract the next generation of news viewers to the network — averaged just 21,000 viewers in the younger 18-49 demo. Among 25- to 54-year-olds, he logged an average of 46,000 viewers. His biggest audience by far was among viewers ages 50 and older — 195,000 of them. That older skew is typical of news programming but might be somewhat surprising given how assiduously he catered to younger viewers during his maiden broadcast.
Farrow recruited fewer viewers — and fewer young ones — than did Andrea Mitchell Reports in its new time slot. Mitchell’s show logged 223,000 overall viewers, including 48,000 viewers in the 18-49 demo, and 71,000 in the news demo — 25-54. Mitchell’s show, ironically, did not do as well with the 50+ crowd as did Farrow, scoring an average of 174,000 of them. The only program that scored a smaller crowd of 18- to 49-year-olds on MSNBC that day was the show that followed Farrow’s, The Reid Report — the other new program making its debut that day, hosted by Reid. It clocked 262,000 overall viewers, just 14,000 in that younger demo, 38,000 in the news demo, and 245,000 viewers ages 50+.