Media Blog

CNN’s Secret 8:00 Weapon

Today’s NY Observer has a good piece on CNN’s Rick Sanchez, the 8:00 fill in for Paula Zahn. TV Newser, which linked to the Observer piece, writes this about Sanchez’s ratings:

Sanchez’s program, Out in the Open, debuted on August 6. It has averaged 568,000 total viewers a night; 100,000 less than Countdown with Keith Olbermann.
According to Nielsen, in August an average of 601,000 total viewers tuned-in to Sanchez’ show. In September the show averaged 570,000 total viewers. So far in October, the show is averaging 518,000 total viewers. The caveat: as the broadcast networks premiere new fall shows, it’s not uncommon to see cable news numbers drop.
Still, the bottom line is, even with Olbermann’s growth, and Sanchez holding the fort, FNC’s Bill O’Reilly just marked 6 years at #1, pulling in 2,032,000 viewers in Q3.

However, when you look at the ratings for the key 25-54 demographic group, Sanchez is closer to Olbermann than you’d think, and actually beat <a href="“>Olbermann in total viewers on October 8th.
One thing going for Rich Sanchez is that he was born in Cuba and has a strong following in Florida thanks to his Hurricane Andrew reporting in 1992. If CNN is currently challenging Olbermann with so little fan-fare and promotion, what’s going to happen if CNN gets lucky? Something like the death of Fidel Castro where CNN has the one reporter that can go to Cuba and really captivate an American audience comes to mind.
If I were CNN, I’d keep Sanchez in the 8:00 spot. Months of post-Castro-death-ratings-coups await.

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