Archive for April 14, 2010

Who, Exactly, is Watching Larry King?

April 14, 2010 2 comments

I did!  Watched him last night and boy, was that fun.  Almost a whole hour on Conan O’Brian’s move to the Turner Broadcasting System!   I laughed, I cried.

Except when you’re watching Larry King, life actually does go by rather fast.  I think it’s  already been five years ago or so, I heard the averge age of a Larry King viewer was 67 years old.   Surely, by now it has exceeded 70.

His latest ratings are not good.  He lost 43% of his audience in just one quarter.  Over the past three months, Joy Behar’s new show on the former Headline News beat Mr. King on 22 different occasions.  He’s averaging about 770,000 people per show now.    There are 3,141 counties in the United States.  On average, that would be almost 250 people per county glued to Larry King Live.

What could cause such massive erosion?  It’s not like he’s doing re-runs of the Life and Times of Connie Francis anymore like he used to do about a decade ago.  There are even pictures and videos of him in a car with Snoop Dogg- because everybody knows how hip and with-it those snazzy cool-cats at CNN are.

Could it be – and I swear to you I am not exaggerating here- that his audience is dying?  Literally keeling over?  I mean 2.4 million Americans die every year.    In his key 65-74 demographic, about 400,000 people can be expected to lose their lives on an annual basis.   Since last year, King has lost about 570,000 viewers.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that life expectancy is up to 77 years. Here’s an interesting fact- back when Larry King began his TV career on CNN in 1985, life expectancy in the U.S. was about 73.9.

But what’s worse than actually analyzing CDC death and mortality data to explain the audience-loss of CNN’s biggest star- is how they can keep propping this guy up there in his suspenders day in and day out as if nothing was ever going to change. They still give him a corporate Leer jet to fly around in, for crying out loud.

But it’s possible change is finally afoot at CNN.  Reportedly, they’ve been scouring the streets around Columbus Circle in New York, looking for volunteers to fill an audience for a live show with Anderson Cooper.   Perhaps a live show that may someday be on at 9pm?

Anderson’s ratings are also down over 40%- but, by golly, I think this whole live-audience concept is going to be the big break-out idea for the Cable News Network.

(The writer once ran the CNNRadio Network, back in the days Larry King was doing shows like the Life and Times of Connie Francis.)