BY C. Douglas Golden, The Western JournalJanuary 12, 2023
1 year ago
 | January 12, 2023
1 year ago

Chris Wallace Humiliated as New Show's Ratings Come in - Then He Goes Off Air and It Gets Even Worse

Chris Wallace's CNN show is called "Who's Talking to Chris Wallace?" A better title might have been, "Who the Heck Is Still Watching Chris Wallace?"

To be fair, the answer is pretty predictable: Pretty much nobody.

And that's just the half of it. Not only is Wallace not getting people to tune into his new network, numbers suggest that even CNN partisans are actually going out of their way not to watch his show.

According to information obtained by The Western Journal from an inside source, not only are the ratings for Wallace's new program abysmal, but CNN's viewership actually improved once it was over.

This was in spite of a media blitz in preparation for his weekend interview show, which marks a new role for the anchor after CNN's digital streaming platform, CNN+, collapsed in April after less than a month in operation.

And Wallace's stab at CNN+ was itself a new beginning for the longtime Fox News personality who'd hosted "Fox News Sunday" since 2003 before leaving abruptly in December 2021.

Despite the efforts to revive Wallace's career on the network, his show still failed to crack half a million viewers.

Fox News' "Sunday Night in America" with Trey Gowdy won the time slot by a triple-digit advantage and double-digits in the 25-54 demographic.

Indeed, according to Nielsen numbers the source passed along, Wallace's program attracted only 462,000 viewers in its 7 p.m.-8 p.m. Eastern time slot, compared with 1,279,000 for Fox News.

In the all-important 25-54 demo -- always a hard catch for news networks -- Wallace drew just 58,000 viewers vs. 72,000 for Gowdy and Fox News.

But, again, that wasn't the end of the humiliation.

"Another interesting nugget is that demo viewers notably dropped off from the 6 p.m. hour compared to 7 p.m. and tuned back in once the show was over," the source told The Western Journal.

Indeed, CNN drew 78,000 25-54 viewers between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. After the drop to 58,000 for Wallace's show, the numbers bounced back up to 71,000 in the 8 p.m.-9 p.m. hour and 114,000 in the 9 p.m.-10 p.m. hour.

And it isn't as if Wallace was spending an hour talking to Pauly Shore about the state of democracy in East Africa. Sunday's guest was Hugh Jackman, according to IMDb. I mean, he's not Tom Cruise, but this is the guy who played the lead role in both "Logan" and "The Greatest Showman."

Even then, CNN-heads apparently had literally anything better to do -- at least if they were between 25 and 54.

Furthermore, the ratings disappointment comes after a media blitz after the show was renewed for a second season in December.

"During season one, CNN Anchor Chris Wallace sat down and broke news with CEOs, newsmakers, luminaries, pop music sensations, and Hollywood legends, such as George Clooney, Shania Twain, Tyler Perry, Meghan Trainor, Alex Rodriguez, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Quentin Tarantino and many others," the network said in a news release.

"Season two will continue to feature guests across the spectrum of news, sports, entertainment, art and culture."

There was a puff-piece in the Los Angeles Times. Late-night interviews with the likes of Stephen Colbert. Fawning coverage of all sorts.

I don't mind Chris Wallace as much as the other Fox News defectors who thump their chest loudly about how they didn't like the direction the network was taking and wanted to be Taken Seriously As An Objective Journalist, but I'll admit to a bit of schadenfreude nonetheless.

Wallace's departure for CNN+ last year was supposed to represent a watershed moment for streaming news. And it was indeed: Less than a month after the service started, the subscription service was killed off because of non-existent viewership numbers.

Wallace's shambolic program was retooled as a CNN weekend show. I've seen it once; it feels a bit like Charlie Rose's old program, except if 1) Charlie Rose was well past the point of diminishing returns and 2) hadn't allegedly exposed himself to innumerable female staffers in the pre-#MeToo days.

Nevertheless, hope springs eternal in Chris Wallace-land.

"Well, in terms of the cable ratings, we really have begun to find an audience," Wallace said in the Jan. 5 Los Angeles Times piece.

"Three of the last five weeks of original shows at 7 (Eastern) on Sunday nights, we finished first in the demo. We beat Fox, we beat MSNBC. So that’s encouraging."

The Times piece didn't describe when that interview took place, but the numbers less than a week after its publication tell a different story.

It turns out people are actively shutting CNN off when Wallace comes on and turning back when his visage has disappeared from the screen. Find the encouragement in that, Chris.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Written by: C. Douglas Golden, The Western Journal



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