Shepard Smith's CNBC Show Is Getting Trounced in the Ratings

Shepard Smith's CNBC Show Is Getting Trounced in the Ratings


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Shepard Smith’s New CNBC Show Doubles Viewers in Timeslot – But He’s Still Way Behind Fox

Smith’s 7 p.m. show trails repeats of Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs — but he is beating “Shark Tank” reruns CNBC used to run

Since its launch next month on CNBC, former Fox News star Shepard Smith’s “The News” has offered a mixed blessing in terms of ratings for the business-focused network.

In its first month, the show has increased total viewership during the 7 p.m. ET hour by 90% over September, according to Nielsen Media Research data. The audience has also grown 120% from a year ago, when the network aired reruns of “Shark Tank” at that time. In addition, Smith has shown double-digit gains in the advertiser-coveted news demographic of viewers 25- to 54-years-old, which have risen 33% since September and 27% since last year.

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But Smith, who abruptly resigned as Fox News’ chief news anchor, badly trails the competition — even losing to repeats of Fox Business’ 5 p.m. ET show, “Lou Dobbs Tonight.” And he’s seen a steady erosion in audience since his Sept. 30 premiere. In total viewers, “The News” has dropped 27% since its premiere week. In the key news demo, it’s down 7%.

Smith’s show averaged 272,000 viewers for the full month, from Sept. 30 to Oct. 22, compared to 305,000 for the repeat airing of “Lou Dobbs Tonight.”

During its debut week, the week of Sept. 30, “The News With Shepard Smith” pulled in 343,000 average total viewers, with an average of 58,000 in that key demo. By the fourth week, during which Smith’s show aired four days out of five, average total viewers were down to 249,00. Average demo viewers were down to 54,000.

A CNBC spokesperson defended Smith’s performance for the network so far: “We are pleased with the launch of ‘The News with Shepard Smith’ and have received very positive feedback from viewers. Not only is CNBC a new entrant in the general news genre, but news viewers are creatures of habit and it takes a long time to change those habits. That said, the newscast far exceeds the audience of ‘The Kudlow Report,’ which was the last regular news program to air on CNBC in the 7 p.m. hour back in the first quarter of 2014.”

The network added that they will “continue to fight” for each viewer they can get.

CNBC and Fox Business both lag behind the main news networks, especially as business news segues into evening news and commentary shows.

In the 7 p.m. time slot on cable news, Fox News’ “The Story With Martha MacCallum” remains the biggest ratings draw. From Sept. 30 to Oct. 22, an average of 3.189 million viewers watched “The Story,” while an average of 2.293 million tuned in to see Joy Reid’s “The Reidout” on MSNBC. CNN’s “Erin Burnett Out Front” was in third place, with 2.023 million average viewers.

Lindsey Ellefson