Countdown Up On NBC

Last night’s broadcast of Countdown on the mothership, NBC, was a major coup for Keith Olbermann and his MSNBC program.

For all the clamoring for attention that goes on amongst the cable news kiddies, they are all fighting for slices of a relatively small pie. The ratings leader, Bill O’Reilly, averages about 2 million viewers a day. The lowest rated network news program (CBS) pulls in over 6 million. So graduating to the network opens millions of doors to a cablecaster.

Olbermann, not surprisingly, benefited from this. The early results show him with 4.1 million viewers. That only earned him a third place finish, behind “60 Minutes” and “America’s Funniest Videos,” but it was good enough to quadruple his average MSNBC audience. What’s more, (and this has to hurt) it is twice what Bill O’Reilly does on an average night. And this despite having been preempted in some fairly significant markets (i.e. Philadelphia, Baltimore) which could adversely impact Countdown’s numbers.

Glenn Beck WeakThis is a significant performance, because success is not guaranteed just by changing your address. Last month, Glenn Beck moved up to CNN from Headline News and barely scraped up the viewers he routinely got at his less-watched network. And he underperformed Paula Zahn, for whom he was filling in, by a whopping 23%.

The content of the show was not, in my opinion, representative of Olbermann’s best work. It seemed to me that either he, or the network, was holding back a bit. There were also extended humor segments that weighted the episode a little more to silliness than usual. Nonetheless, it may turn out to be the wise approach if viewers are more comfortable getting their news with a spoonful of aspartame. Still, I hope that if he gets another at bat, the network lets Olbermann be Olbermann. The show is the fastest growing program on cable news for a reason.


4 thoughts on “Countdown Up On NBC

  1. Thank you NBC for Keith Olbermann, by far the best, he’ll shine where ever you put him. I never watched MSNBC until my brother turned me on to Olbermann. This guy’s a winner!

    • Hopefully a lot more people who never watched MSNBC will start watching Countdown now that they saw it on NBC.

  2. Glen beck, please let me inform you, that it is hard to be the social concience of a nation tht hates its vets, among other things. on todays msn page i read that the gays were raisin’hell again well the activists at least. i hope that you realize that when times get tough the nuts whine the loudest.
    The last time i checked, that was a life chioce or style and as far as i know,remains the choice of who you want to “zoom”
    at times like this that’s all we nees is a bunch of whiners demanding their place in the spot light. PLEASE contimue to call it like you see it. as a veteran i fought for just that right for you. and it looks like you are the only one taking advantage of the oportunity..I have come to realize mr Beck, that if we don’t stand for something , we fall for far as i am concerned the man that said that was a “genius keep up the good we brother veterans say,I GOT YOUR BACK BROTHER… ED

    • You do know that I am NOT Glenn Beck, don’t you?

      And btw, Beck is NOT your brother veteran. He never served a day in the military.

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