One year after Shep Smith made headlines when he stepped down as a star anchor on Fox News to abruptly leave the network, it’s being reported that his new show on CNBC is bombing in the ratings.
Ever since “The News with Shepard Smith” premiered on September 30 on CNBC, ratings have steadily declined despite the fact that the news program has managed to garner high profile guests like Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Mediaite reported that while Nielsen found that Smith’s show brought in 343,000 total viewers in its first week, the viewership declined to 268,000 in its second week. It then dropped to 254,000 in its third, and it’s looking like the ratings are going to decline once again in week four.
The 25-54 age demo ratings have been particularly low, plummeting from a paltry 58,000 average viewers in the show’s debut week to only 48,000 in week two.
With an average of 272,000 viewers, Smith’s show was at the bottom of the 7 p.m. cable news ratings between September 30 and October 22m, trailing far behind MSNBC’s Joy Reid, CNN’s Erin Burnett and Fox News’ Martha MacCallum. Smith even came in behind the 7 p.m. repeat of the Fox Business show “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” which managed to pull in 305,000 viewers (Dobbs initially airs at 5 p.m.).
When Smith was on Fox News, his show “Shepard Smith Reporting” consistently averaged over a million viewers when it aired daily at 3pm. In September of 2019, which was his last full month at Fox, Smith’s show averaged 1.3 million viewers and 195,000 in the 25-54 age demo.
Mediaite senior editor Joe DePaolo had said back in July that while Smith is a talented news anchor, his new show is likely “doomed” because few Fox News fans are likely to follow him to CNBC.
“Shepard Smith is superb at what he does. His integrity is impeccable. He delivers the news without fear or favor. He pulls no punches during interviews with newsmakers on both sides of the aisle,” DePaolo said. “And his new show is likely doomed. Completely, hopelessly doomed.”
“Odds are that his new show will not upset many. But that’s only because they won’t be watching in the first place,” he added.
CNBC is standing by Smith for now, releasing the following statement in support of his show:
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 7p hour back in the first quarter of 2014. We will continue to fight for every viewer every weeknight.
It remains to be seen whether Smith will be able to bring in more viewers going forward.
This piece originally appeared in Objectivist.co and is used by permission.
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