Former Fox News ratings powerhouse Bill O’Reilly has predicted the “total collapse” of cable news networks, once Trump’s days in the White House are over.
Trump has become so central to the daily programming of the (mostly) far eft, Trump-hating universe of cable news that once he is gone, they will be lost at sea, O’Reilly says.
O’Reilly also says that especially for MSNBC and CNN, Trump hatred is propping up ratings to point that when he is gone, they will fall apart.
According to The Washington Times:
“You either like him or you hate him,” the conservative pundit told The Washington Examiner on Monday. “All right. So the New York Times is making money, survives on hating Trump. So does CNN … and MSNBC and NBC News. There’s nothing else that drives people into watching MSNBC or CNN other than Trump hatred. They have nothing else to offer. Nothing.”
Mr. O’Reilly’s sentiments, for all intents and purposes, were recently shared by CNN President Jeff Zucker as well.
“Just looking at the past 25 years, these last three are among the most successful in CNN history,” Mr. Zucker told Vanity Fair for its December issue. “My view is this: Obviously our audience numbers will not stay at this level when he’s not president, either in two years or six years. Nobody should be pretending otherwise. I do believe, though, that we have reset the playing field so that our audience levels will be significantly higher than they were.”
O’Reilly also noted that the old Big Three TV networks will probably weather a post Trump Washington just fine.
“And when Trump leaves the stage, you’re going to see a total collapse of cable news,” the “Killing the SS” author said. “Network news already collapsed. The only people watching them are in the Midwest, in the South, and elderly people, and they’re just used to the tradition of watching. But in the urban centers and among younger Americans, network is — I dunno, you go out and ask who [CBS Evening News Anchor] Jeff Glor is.”
He is probably right, too, because ABC, CBS, and NBC still routinely get 10 million viewers for their news programs. The Big Three will be fine in the short term. It is the long term where they will find more trouble with ratings.
But, as it is right now, CNN will probably find the worst loss. Indeed, CNN is already earning lower ratings than the kid’s channel, Nickelodeon cartoon network!
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.
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