‘Cuomo’ debut ratings deliver both good and bad news

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Chris Cuomo’s return to cable TV garnered low ratings but also managed to out-perform some other launches on the NewsNation network.

His show, titled “Cuomo,” came in last place among both major and so-called startup cable news and commentary networks Monday, Oct. 3, 2022.

The show marked Cuomo’s return to TV on Nexstar’s NewsNation, after being fired by CNN in late 2021.

According to initial Nielsen data, which could be revised later, the show was watched by just 147,000 viewers. Of that, only 8,000 were in the adults 25-54 demographic.

His old network, CNN, was airing “Anderson Cooper 360” at the time, which registered 814,000 viewers. MSNBC’sAll In with Chris Hayes” got 1.4 million and Fox’sTucker Carlson Tonight” had 2.875 million.

Ultra-conservative commentary channel Newsmax that is often grouped with upstart cable news and analysis networks (along with NewsNation) beat “Cuomo” by around 4,000 viewers.

Cuomo’s show is the latest in a series of launches on NewsNation that, despite using relatively well-known names, have failed to garner significant viewership.

It appears that “Cuomo” may have benefited at least somewhat from its host’s name and the fact it’s on during primetime. An earlier NewsNation launch, “Morning in America,” had just 12,000 viewers on its first day in September 2021. “Dan Abrams Live,” which launched the same day as “Morning” had 43,000 for its first day.

Cuomo is arguably the biggest name yet to join NewsNation, so he may have managed to lure at least some loyal viewers.

Nexstar invested heavily in promoting Cuomo’s debut, including taking out full page ads in newspapers and running promos on its various properties.

That said, NewsNation often peaks with reruns of shows such as “Blue Bloods,” which can attract over 300,000 viewers.

NewsNation draws its roots in a three-hour primetime newscast called “NewsNation” that launched in the fall of 2020 on what was then known as WGN America.

The launch followed Nexstar’s acquisition of Tribune’s broadcast assets, which included WGN America and local Chicago station WGN, among other properties.

By 2021, Nexstar rebranded the entire network under the NewsNation name and has since expanded its programming to feature interview, analysis and commentary news in the evenings alongside morning, afternoon and early evening newscasts that follow a more traditional format.

Many industry watchers suspect Nexstar wants to transform the network into news and analysis 24 hours a day, doing away with the syndicated and network repeats it currently airs between NewsNation-branded programs.

News and commentary shows are generally significantly cheaper to produce than original or reruns of comedy and dramas, so even with lower viewership they can still be more profitable overall.

Nexstar does not break down its NewsNation financials separately, so it’s not clear if the network is profitable.

Nexstar has attempted to bill the network as bias-free, despite an early report that former Fox executive Bill Shine consulted on the launch and a series of high-profile resignations that were reportedly linked to the editorial direction the network was taking as it launched more commentary shows with what many saw as right-leaning views.

While the network has continued to expand programming and Nexstar continues to funnel money into the venture, it so far has yet to break into any significant ratings success.

Cuomo was perhaps the highest profile host that Nexstar recruited to helm a show on the network. Others include former NBC, MSNBC and CNN anchor Ashleigh Banfield and former NBC and MSNBC staffer and current ABC legal analyst Dan Abrams. Former ABC News anchor Elizabeth Vargas was also tapped to guest anchor.