CNN Continues To Struggle Post-Trump, As “Jill Biden Abroad” Fails

Chad Thiele via Flickr
Chad Thiele via Flickr

CNN’s primetime special featuring First Lady Jill Biden, called “Jill Biden Abroad,” failed to attract viewers and lost 43% of CNN’s average 2023 9 p.m. ET viewership. The special averaged only 368,000 total viewers, while Fox News’s “Hannity” and MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” drew 2.7 million and 2.3 million viewers, respectively. The special also struggled to attract viewers among the important demographic of adults aged 25-54, averaging only 84,000 viewers, representing a 42% loss of the network’s 2023 year-to-date average 9 p.m. viewership.

These poor ratings come after CNN finished February with historically low viewership, recording its smallest audience among the demographic since 2012, and its worst primetime performance in the category since 2013. This could signal tough times ahead for the news network following former President Trump’s departure from office in 2020, as CNN frequently covered his presidency.

During the interview, the first lady professed her love for her controversial stepson, Hunter Biden, saying:

“I love Hunter, and I’ll support him in any way I can, and that’s how I look at things.”

When asked about the investigations targeting the president’s son and their potential impact on his re-election campaign, First Lady Jill Biden simply replied, “No.” This comes as CNN struggles to fill the void left by the departure of their former 9 p.m. ET host Chris Cuomo, who was fired in late 2021. Despite attempts to draw in viewers with special programming and rotating hosts, such as Jake Tapper, Anderson Cooper, and Jim Acosta, the network has failed to attract a substantial audience during primetime. Tapper was even brought in on a temporary basis to fill the 9 p.m. slot leading up to the November midterms.

CNN’s recent primetime special featuring the First Lady, branded as “Jill Biden Abroad,” was also unable to bring in a significant viewership, shedding 43% of CNN’s average 2023 9 p.m. ET viewership. This underperformance highlights CNN’s ongoing struggles against its competitors, Fox News and MSNBC, particularly in the wake of the firing of Cuomo and the demotion of Don Lemon to a morning-time news anchor. As the network faces historically low viewership and tough times ahead, its ability to attract and retain a loyal audience remains in question.

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