CNN ratings tank in first few weeks under new boss Chris Licht

New boss, even worse results.

Cable news giant CNN has seen its viewership decline in recent weeks under the leadership of newly installed network president Chris Licht, according to the latest Nielsen ratings.

CNN’s viewership in June fell compared to the previous month, despite the network’s heavy coverage of the ongoing House hearings on the Jan. 6, 2021 riots in the US Capitol.

In June, CNN’s primetime programming attracted an average of 654,000 viewers per night. Of those viewers, just 148,000 are between the ages of 25 and 54 — the key demographic most sought after by advertisers.

According to The Daily Beast, the figures represent a 1% drop compared to May.

CNN’s daily lineup is also bleeding viewers, the latest data shows.

The audience tuning in to the network shrank 3% month-on-month to a total of 487,000 daily viewers in June — and 2% to 104,000 viewers in the 25-54 age group.

CNN's ratings have fallen despite an intense focus on the ongoing House Committee hearings on the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riots.
CNN’s ratings have fallen despite an intense focus on the ongoing House Committee hearings on the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riots.
The Washington Post via Getty Im

During the week of June 13-19, when the network focused its coverage intensely on the January 6 hearings, it averaged just 480,000 total viewers – a 13% drop from May’s numbers.

The week of June 13 was CNN’s lowest daily viewership since November 2015.

Conversely, MSNBC, CNN’s main competition for liberal-minded viewers, had a great month in June, as viewers flocked to the Comcast-owned outfit to cover and analyze the House hearings.

MSNBC’s daily coverage of the hearings averaged 767,000 viewers, the second-highest among all basic cable channels. That’s a 21% increase from the average daily viewership in May.

The network also boasts a total audience of 3 million people who watched the hearings.

MSNBC’s prime time also benefited from the Jan. 6 drama as the network averaged 1.28 million viewers, good for second place.

Overall, MSNBC saw a 30% increase in primetime viewers and a 23% increase in daily viewership for the month of June.

Both MSNBC and CNN lag behind cable news ratings king Fox News Channel, Fox Corp. is owned by the sister company of The Post’s parent company, News Corp.

Licht was appointed to run CNN, succeeding Jeff Zucker, who stepped down just weeks before newly merged entity Discovery Warner Bros. took over the reins of the network and its sister media outlets.

The former executive producer of Stephen Colbert’s late-night CBS show wants to steer CNN away from partisan and opinionated commentary and towards hard news.

According to online news site Mediaite, Licht has instructed CNN producers not to call former President Donald Trump’s claims of voter fraud during the 2020 election “the big lie.”

The CNN President suggested shows should instead refer to Trump’s disproved claims as “Trump’s election lie” or “election lies.”

Licht claimed that the use of the phrase “the big lie” essentially mimicked the Democratic Party’s “branding” and violated CNN’s objectivity when it came to the issue.

Licht is also reportedly monitoring CNN’s top anchors — including figures like Brian Stelter and Jim Acosta — to see if they can conform to the network’s new emphasis on less partisan reporting. Moderators who can’t adapt to CNN’s change in direction could be pushed out.

Additionally, Licht has ordered CNN producers to ban the network’s use of “breaking news” banners during live coverage — a tactic adopted under Zucker’s watch.