Ed Driscoll

Anderson Cooper's Ratings Plummet

October-2009-CNN-free-falling-590x455

At some point, Anderson Cooper 360 really will refer to his number of remaining viewers:

The respected CNN anchor has seen his numbers slip significantly through the past year. His 10 p.m. show, “Anderson Cooper 360,” has declined 62% in total viewers and 70% in adults 25-54 from November 2008, according to Nielsen figures.

Last month, in Cooper’s time slot, Fox News’ “On the Record” attracted an average viewership of 1.9 million while “360” averaged 672,000; repeats of MSNBC’s “Countdown” and HLN’s Nancy Grace show averaged 655,000 and 458,000, respectively.

But in the ad-friendly 25-54 demo, those same repeats won out over Cooper with 224,000 (MSNBC) and 214,000 (HLN).

Cooper — who became an overnight sensation during his Hurricane Katrina coverage — surely deserves better ratings. From the start of 2009, he began losing a huge chunk of his nightly audience.

So what happened? Let’s see: There’s no presidential election to ramp up ratings; there’s heavy competition from centrist CNN’s noisier rivals (see: Fox News, the No. 1 cable news channel); there’s people catching up on DVR-ed TV shows in the late evening; then there’s the loss of Lou Dobbs in the 7 p.m. anchor chair, among other possible factors.

Not to mention Cooper’s public disdain for half his potential audience.  It’s a trait he shares with just about all of CNN’s on-air talent, particularly now that the aforementioned Dobbs has bailed.