CNBC is rumored to be looking for fresh faces to bring back viewers who have been leaving in droves, especially during prime time, Paul Bedard at the Washington Examiner reports. The channel has had some of the worst ratings in its history due to mounting competition from Fox Business and is eager to make a change in its prime time lineup.
CNBC’s Kudlow Report
Speculation is focused on Larry Kudlow’s show the Kudlow Report, which lost 60 percent of its target audience, 25 – 54 year olds and shows no signs of recovery. Mad Money has also been hemorrhaging viewers, and if it turns out that Kudlow really is on the chopping block then Jim Cramer will need to find a way to bring back the 39 percent of 25 – 54 year olds that have abandoned his show in the last year.
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One option for the Kudlow Report’s 7 pm slot is to keep the same format but find an anchor who is better able to connect with the audience. Former CBS anchor Harry Smith’s name has been thrown around as one person who could fill that role. But this solution has the same potential problem that Kudlow has been facing in Fox’s Lou Dobbs. Lou Dobbs Tonight competes directly with the Kudlow Report for the middle-aged business audience, and Dobbs has been winning in recent months. If he continues to beat Kudlow’s replacement CNBC could find that it needs to shake things up again before long.
The alternative is to replace the Kudlow Report with an entirely different format, such as Fox’s The Five. By switching up the programming, CNBC would no longer be competing directly with Dobbs and recover its total numbers by bringing in other demographics and viewers who are tired of the traditional anchored news program.
Squawk on the Streets saw its ratings fall as well, despite picking up Kelly Evans from Wall Street Journal, a move that was supposed to create more appeal for younger audiences. Squawk on the Streets was CNBC’s biggest decline among shows aired during business hours losing 21 percent of all viewers and 39 percent of viewers aged 25 – 54.
CNBC’s total viewership fell to its lowest level in nearly twenty years last month according to Nielsen Media Research, while Mad Money, Squawk on the Street, and the Kudlow Report had their worst quarters ever. Every show on CNBC airing between 6 am and 8 pm saw its total ratings decline last year, though ratings for Fast Money Halftime and Power Lunch did go up among viewers aged 25 – 54.