More bad news for Current TV, Al Gore’s struggling cable channel.
After firing its big star, Keith Olbermann, last week, the network’s ratings have gone from bad to worse.
Olbermann was drawing 177,000 viewers a night. That would be a respectable number for a no-name cable show, but it was a far cry from the 1 million that Olbermann drew on MSNBC.
And it was presumably a far cry from what Al Gore and Joel Hyatt, Current TV’s other boss, expected when they decided to pay Olbermann $10 million a year and build the network around him.
But now, with Olbermann gone, Current TV is getting only 47,000 viewers in Olbermann’s time slot, which features a new show with Eliot Spitzer.
Spitzer was averaging about 500,000 viewers a night on CNN, so he’s drawing an even lower percentage of his prior audience than Olbermann was.
So, Olbermann appears to have a point that there’s something fundamentally wrong with Current TV (starting with the fact that most people who might watch it have no idea what channel it’s on.)
In any event…
The network’s ratings are now so low, Peter Lauria of Reuters reports, that Time Warner Cable may drop it from its systems.
This would mean the loss of another 12 million of the 60 million homes that have access to Current, a 20% decrease in distribution. It would also mean the loss of about $1.5 million of revenue a month from cable carriage fees alone, using Kagan’s estimates of 12 cents per subscriber per month.For a network that has been struggling for 7 years to find an audience and may already be in financial trouble, that revenue hit would be devastating.
Current tells Reuters that it is in compliance with its Time Warner contract and that it thinks it will be able to hit the minimum ratings required to remain on the system–even without Olbermann.
Reuters’ sources tell a different story.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.