708 with a Bullet

by Jonah Goldberg

From the Daily News, on Ronan Farrow’s rough start:

Farrow, 28 — the opinionated, blue-eyed son of actress Mia Farrow and either Woody Allen or Frank Sinatra (even Farrow’s not sure which) — has been a disaster for MSNBC. The channel took the frequent cable-show guest and handed him his own program, “Ronan Farrow Daily,” which premiered in late February.

“He sort of stinks on TV,” an MSNBC source told [email protected] “He hasn’t turned out to be the superstar they were hoping for.”

The theory was that Farrow, a Rhodes scholar who graduated college when he was 15 and went on to score degrees from Yale and Oxford, would bring his 245,000 Twitter followers with him to television. “But that hasn’t happened,” the source said. “Just because someone is a boy genius-turned-Twitter star doesn’t mean they deserve their own TV show.”

Last Wednesday, Farrow drew an average of about 312,000 total viewers, which might be stellar for Twitter but “is rather measly for someone who is supposed to be a major national personality,” another source said.

Even worse: Wednesday’s show was 708th among all programming ranked by Nielsen, in both total viewers and the 18-to-49 age group advertisers covet. The midnight airing of “Baggage” on the Game Show Network came in ahead of it, at No. 707, and the 8 a.m. “Golden Girls” on the Hallmark Channel (No. 700) crushed it.

I have no major brief against Farrow. I’ve never watched his show. I’ve maybe seen him on TV twice. But for all I can tell he’s pretty sharp earnest young liberal. But I’m kind of at a loss as to why anyone at MSNBC thought he was a “major national personality.” I’m not sure I knew who he was until MSNBC announced they were giving him a show.  I keep reading about how having 245,000 twitter followers is a main reason he got that show, which seems kind of crazy to me (even assuming all of those followers are real). Admittedly, that’s more than twice as many as I have. But it’s a good deal less than The Honest Toddler. I suspect that the folks at MSNBC have once again fallen victim to their own bubble. No doubt in the halls of 30 Rock, Farrow is a major personality. But the nation is much larger than that. You’d think MSNBC would have learned that lesson by now. 

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