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CNN’s ‘Poorly Rated’ @Soledad_OBrien Will Lose Her Show Nobody Watched

Posted on | January 30, 2013 | 61 Comments

Soledad O’Brien, America’s Least Popular Cable TV News Personality™

Jeff Zucker is making big changes at CNN, the cable-news pioneer that has fallen to third place in the ratings: Gone are longtime contributors James Carville and Mary Matalin, as well as Bill Bennett and Erick Erickson, the latter of whom has signed on with Fox News. Now we learn that America’s Least Popular Cable TV News Personality™ will be losing her morning-show spot:

CNN plans to launch a new morning show to replace the poorly rated “Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien,” sources at the network tell POLITICO.
The new show will be co-hosted by Chris Cuomo, who has just joined the network from ABC News, and likely by Erin Burnett, who currently hosts a primetime program on CNN. O’Brien’s own future at the network remains unclear.
“Soledad is very important to the network, and we’re discussing various options with her,” a CNN spokesperson told POLITICO this afternoon.

So, Cuomo and Burnett will anchor the new morning show and yet “Soledad is very important to the network” . . . how?

O’Brien is one of those people who used to work for the “Big Three” broadcast networks — in O’Brien’s case, NBC — and who was therefore automatically considered a “get” when CNN hired her in 2003. But Soledad has since flopped in every time-slot she’s had, and if she had any ratings magic, surely it would have been apparent by now, nearly 10 years into her career as a cable-news ratings albatross.

Strangely, The Atlantic‘s Alexander Abad Santos suggests the unliked O’Brien could get a primetime slot at CNN. Is Jeff Zucker that stupid?

UPDATE: When I say Soledad O’Brien is “unpopular,” here’s what I mean — Monday’s Nielsen ratings:

Fox & Friends …………………………………….. 1,003,000
MSNBC “Morning Joe” ………………………….. 412,000
CNN Headline News “Morning Express” …. 247,000
CNN “Starting Point” …………………………….. 193,000

Soledad O’Brien is not merely behind Fox and MSNBC, she’s even drawing 50,000 fewer viewers than Robin Meade on Headline News.

UPDATE II: Linked by Donald Douglas at American Power and by Ace of Spades who observes:

Now, Soledad O’Brien had crap ratings and so does Piers Morgan; but they’re keeping the portly white guy, eh?

CNN executives were quick to clarify their complaint that Soledad’s audience was “too ethnic.” Translation: “We can’t fire Soledad, because she’ll sue us for discrimination. Also, we resent the inference that we would cancel a show just because it doesn’t draw the audience of high-income young white professionals that adverstisers prefer!”