MSNBC Did Better Without Keith Olbermann...Until He Came Back On TV


Second quarter cable news ratings reveal that MSNBC is doing just fine without Keith Olbermann.

Better actually.

The network continued to gain viewers and year-over-year is up 3%. 

Lawrence O’Donnell, who replaced Olbermann at 8pm after his abrupt departure in January, lost some viewers — 974,000 viewers compared to Olby’s 1.06 million (he saw a similar drop in the demo).  But, to be fair, the drop is pretty negligible.

However!  Since Olbermann staged his return to TV last Monday, and the numbers are interesting.

Current has been stingy about releasing daily figures, but Brian Stelter at the NYT got his hands on last week’s numbers and they suggest viewers may actually be turning off O’Donnell in favour of Olbermann.

Per Stelter: “‘Countdown’ on Current averaged 354,000 total viewers in its first week, and 131,000 viewers ages 25 to 54. “The Last Word” on MSNBC averaged 794,000 total viewers, and 203,000 viewers ages 25 to 54, a drop of about 20 per cent from Mr. O’Donnell’s second-quarter average.”

That 20% drop is significant, especially considering Current airs on far fewer stations.  And while some of it can be attributed to curiosity, it suggests that Current’s gamble of essentially presenting the exact same show Olbermann was doing at MSNBC is paying off. 

From the looks of it his loyal viewers, who have been making do with Lawrence O’Donnell, really did miss him.



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