April Ratings Preview…

The New York Times’ Bill Carter writes about April ratings…

But since March 13, when the CNN plane coverage was ratcheting up, “Morning Joe,” which has generally enjoyed wide attention in New York-based media, has found itself consistently behind the 10-month-old “New Day” on CNN. From that date, through last Friday “New Day” won 25 days to eight for “Morning Joe.” (Though, in perhaps a sign that the momentum may be shifting back, “Joe” beat “New Day” easily on the last recorded day, April 25.)

“CNN has made itself a punch line on the ‘Daily Show’ for its phony breaking-news headlines and breathless coverage of random ocean debris,” Joe Scarborough, the anchor of “Morning Joe,” said. “ ‘Morning Joe’ topped CNN in the first quarter by covering hard news, just as we have for the past five years. We will do the same in the future and won’t be distracted by ‘X-Files’ cable news programming.”

The average for April among viewers ages 25-54 was 119,000 for “New Day,” to 105,000 for “Morning Joe.” Both were fighting for the right to a distant second to “Fox and Friends,” which averaged 237,000 viewers in the age group.

In February, the month before the plane disappeared, “Morning Joe” had a comfortable margin over “New Day,” 127,000 viewers to 79,000 in that advertiser-preferred group. So “New Day” is up more than 50 percent since then, while “Joe” is down 17 percent.

The morning show problem was only one of many for MSNBC in April. The network, which is mainly devoted to covering politics from a left of center slant, averaged only 112,000 viewers for its total day coverage in April. That was its lowest total since May 2007.

“It was a soft month, no doubt,” said Lauren Skowronski, the spokeswoman for MSNBC. “But they are not going to change the editorial approach for one story. They want to stay on brand.”

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