Friday, April 20, 2012
In Which I Pull the Plug on Erin Burnett OutFront
There can be no denying that Erin Burnett is one of the most dynamic personalities to ever grace the cable news pantheon. She reports the facts fairly and backing down from her reporting is not the done thing. Yes, her ratings always were an issue, but I always thought she'd pull through. If these numbers, among the other recent numbers taken in since her return, are any indication, I may have missed the mark by a sizable stretch. I was an early backer of the show, and I still support it(and will go down with the ship defending her and her show), but the numbers don't lie, and even I recognize that this isn't good. Her numbers are in free fall, pure and simple. Yes, I feel she was railroaded, but the attempts of a few stoned lefties usually don't have this kind of a drag on the ratings.
When I started regularly watching in November, I was impressed with the delivery and format, and thought the masses would be as well. I thought her to be another Cronkite/Murrow. People just neither got into her nor even really noticed her. Mainly, they perceived her a certain way. I disagree with those perceptions, but perception is the name of the game. That's just the way it goes in news. It's all about ratings. When you get views, you get money. When you get money, you can expand your franchise. For ratings alone, I will now ask CNN to put the sick puppy out of its misery. CNN can ill afford to continue giving air time to a show that, if anything, is dragging down CNN's Primetime/Total Day numbers. CNN is a business, and as a business, they can ill afford to operate in the red in comparison to previous years' showings. I fail to see why CNN keeps them on, as I do not believe their ratings will ever improve much beyond 380K in total views and 120K in the key demographic, and I don't see where any amount of re-tooling will help them the way it did with "Piers Morgan Tonight." Hell, OutFront's ratings as of late make those already weak average numbers look stellar by comparison.
Simply put, "OutFront" has become ratings road kill in recent days. There is no noticeable way in which they can re-tool the show, so it will have to be overhauled soon. CNN makes the decisions, I know, but I believe it to be in their best interests to put it to sleep before they go even deeper into the red. Who should replace the inimitable Burnett when she goes? I think John Avlon would be a great choice. He shares her resonant qualities, while not coming off as a snarky know-it-all, which is what rubs many people the wrong way regarding Burnett.