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Tuesday 1 February 2011

Percy’s Progress

[Update at end of post]

The ratings are in: now we can see just how much of the USA was conquered by shameless self publicist Piers “Morgan” Moron. The first fortnight of The Percy Moron Show began well, with a well received interview with Oprah, but by the Thursday of Week Two, reached its nadir when Percy was reduced to quizzing the Kardashian sisters on whether their breasts were genuine.

Moreover, during that period, the show’s ratings went from over two million to just under half a million, and Moron’s main rivals for 9pm ET viewers, Sean Hannity at Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) and Rachel Maddow at MSNBC, had their numbers largely unaffected by the new order at CNN.

Protagonists: Sean Hannity at Fox ...

Percy might have scored top slot on his first night, but Fox had lined up “tea party” favourite Sarah Palin (who is, of course, also on the Fox payroll) for an hour’s softball with Hannity: this undoubtedly helped his ratings.

... Rachel Maddow at MSNBC ...

And from that point, it has been mainly downhill: it took just two more days for Moron to fall to third behind Maddow, and even though he regained second spot the next day, his show continued to lose viewers.

... and Piers "Morgan" Moron at CNN

One bright spot was that viewer numbers picked up last Friday, but this show was – as Larry King was every night – live. And the numbers should have been better, as Moron was anchoring the CNN coverage from Egypt: this is the kind of set piece news event that gets viewers turning to CNN, but not so many of them did.

Viewer numbers in thousands

The signs are not good. Even moving Joy Behar’s show on sister network HLN to 10pm ET – this programme beat Larry King on the Tuesday of his last week – hasn’t helped. And Moron’s talk of the reach of CNN across the world is hot air – just how many captive viewers in airport departure lounges are bothered who is on the screen?

Self publicity only takes you so far. To build an audience, and keep it, is something you have to work at. Whether Percy is up to working that much harder only time will tell.

[UPDATE: better late than never, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines, who styles himself Guido Fawkes, has miraculously hit upon the less than stellar viewing figures for CNN's new 9pm ET weekday host. It has taken him almost six months so to do. Pity about the grotty photos of Hannity and Maddow, though]

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