A week and a half after its debut, the show from the host Jeff Zucker called “the new face of CNN” hit a new low yesterday. Airing at 4 PM ET, The Lead With Jake Tapper pulled in 61,000 viewers in the adults 25-54 demo on Wednesday, with 318,000 total viewers. That’s the worst the one-hour CNN show has done since its soft March 18 debut. It was also the worst of the day in the demo for any show on the ratings-challenged CNN. Wednesday’s number marks a demo-low for the show, but it’s not the worst The Lead has done in terms of viewership — it pulled in a mere 258,000 viewers March 22 with a demo of 68,000.
The best the Tapper-fronted show has done came on March 26, when it pulled in 433,000 viewers and 113,000 among 25-54. The show debuted with 400,000 viewers and 87,000 in the demo. But that’s cold comfort when Wednesday’s edition was well behind the 1.222 million viewers who watched Fox New Channel’s Your World With Neil Cavuto in the same time slot; the FNC show pulled in 199,000 in thedemo. The Lead was also behind MSNBC’s Martin Bashir, which drew 383,000 viewers but doubled CNN with 124,000 in the key demo.
From its premiere on March 18 to Wednesday, Tapper’s show is down 32% in terms of total viewers and 34% in the demo from the same period last year, when CNN aired the first hour of Wolf Blitzer’s Situation Room. Having said that, The Lead has improved on some of Blitzer’s numbers this year: In the 4-5 PM time slot, Situation Room hit 56,000 in the demo on February 5, 54,000 on March 11 and a low of 53,000 on February 26. The latter was actually the lowest pull in the demo since November 23, 2007.