Regardless of their political leanings, Trump was the best thing that ever happened to cable news networks. If they can’t find a replacement to bring back the viewers they’re losing, some of them may well go bankrupt. From Matt Taibbi at taibbi.substack.com:
Trump saved the cable news business once. Without him, things are looking bleak again. Who will they find to feed the outrage machine?
Variety just published a graph that should horrify cable news executives:
This data, showing significant declines in all of the major primetime cable news shows, came in a piece called, “Cable News Ratings Begin To Suffer Trump Slump.” Gavin Bridge of the Variety Intelligence Platform explained:
VIP has previously covered the initial ratings decline Fox News, MSNBC and, most of all, CNN, saw in President Biden’s first week, as the nonstop controversies of the previous administration slowed down.
Our prediction that audiences would perk up for President Trump’s second impeachment trial proved correct. But in the weeks after the trial ended, audiences for CNN have plummeted; MSNBC is seeing about half CNN’s drop, while Fox News is down single digits.
It’s natural for news audiences to dip after seismic events like the January 6th riots. CNN had its best month ever in January, and individual shows like Anderson Cooper 360 jumped above 5 million viewers.
Still, Variety’s report showing significant ratings drops as we move farther away from the Trump experience is both predictable and fascinating. It’s not clear how media executives will respond to losing the best friend they ever had. They will either have to surrender to the idea of significant long-term losses — impossible to imagine — or find a way to continue an all-time blockbuster entertainment franchise, which doubled as the most divisive public relations campaign in our history, without the show’s main character.