OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
CNN’s viewership has been in a freefall for the past couple of years already, and first lady Jill Biden did nothing to turn the situation around during her first prime-time special on the network aired Monday evening.
CNN, which has been struggling with ratings in competition with Fox News and liberal rival MSNBC, has been without a permanent host for the 9 p.m. ET timeslot for more than a year following the dismissal of Chris Cuomo in late 2021. Despite attempts by Jake Tapper and others to captivate audiences during the crucial primetime hour, the show’s ratings have continued to dwindle. Even the first lady faced similar difficulties.
The “Jill Biden Abroad,” special aired during “CNN Primetime” and included an interview with CNN’s White House correspondent Arlette Saenz, but the show experienced a significant loss of viewership, dropping by 43 percent compared to CNN’s average 9 p.m. ET viewership in 2023, Fox News reported.
The “Jill Biden Abroad” special garnered a disappointing 368,000 total viewers, a significant contrast to Fox News’ “Hannity” and MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” which both aired at the same time and had 2.7 million and 2.3 million viewers, respectively. This was CNN’s poorest weekday showing at 9 p.m. since June 17, 2022, excluding Christmas Eve, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Fox News’ report noted further.
On Monday, a variety of basic cable offerings managed to outdraw CNN’s 9 p.m. ET program, including TBS’ midday repeats of “Friends,” Investigation Discovery’s “Murder Comes Home,” and reruns of “Andy Griffith Show” and “Gunsmoke” on TV Land Classic. Other shows that surpassed CNN’s ratings include Hallmark’s longstanding broadcasts of “The Golden Girls” and Lifetime’s “Castle,” the report added.
Among the coveted demographic of adults aged 25-54, Biden’s program failed to gain traction, averaging just 84,000 viewers in that category. That’s a 42 percent drop in the network’s average 9 p.m. viewership for 2023. Meanwhile, on the same evening, “Hannity” managed to draw 322,000 viewers in the demo, while “Maddow” had 219,000.
New CNN boss Chris Licht, after he took over last year, pledged to make the network less partisan — in this case, less left-leaning. So it’s not clear why, under those conditions, CNN would even offer the wife of a sitting Democratic president a program in the first place.
Nevertheless, the gambit proved unsuccessful: “CNN recently finished February with historically low viewership, concluding the news-heavy month with its smallest audience among the demo since 2012. It was CNN’s worst primetime performance in the category since 2013,” Fox News reported.
Since the dismissal of Cuomo, CNN has been struggling to fill the primetime void, with a variety of specials, more Anderson Cooper, and a brief experiment with Jim Acosta failing to gain traction. As the November midterms approached, CNN enlisted Tapper to temporarily take over the 9 p.m. slot.
But nothing worked, and Jill Biden’s program did nothing to revitalize the timeslot. Instead, “the tiny audience that stumbled upon the first lady’s sit-down with Saenz got to hear her profess love for her stepson Hunter Biden,” Fox reported.
“I love Hunter, and I’ll support him in any way I can and that’s how I look at things,” Biden said when asked about her stepson being targeted by Republicans amid a wave of investigations now that the GOP has taken control of the House.
But the feeling may not be mutual. Text messages unearthed last fall show the first son calling his stepmother a “vindictive moron” and a whole lot worse.
The texts show the deeply troubled 52-year-old degenerate blasting his stepmother following a family argument in late 2018. In one text he sent to the widow of his brother, whom Hunter Biden was dating at the time in what is in and of itself a bizarre situation, he called Jill Biden a “selfish silly entitled c**t.”
“F–k my stepmother for always being as much of a selfish silly entitled c–t as you,” he wrote to Hallie Biden as their brief relationship began to deteriorate.
Another text that he sent to his uncle and frequent business partner James Biden, Hunter recalled an argument with Jill in which he blasted the future first lady with a barrage of insults.
“And you do know the drunkest I’ve ever been is still smarter than you could ever even comprehend and you’re a shut [sic] grammar teacher that wouldn’t survive one class in a ivy graduate program,” he wrote. “So go f*** yourself Jill let’s all agree I don’t like you anymore than you like me.”