A comprehensive history of Piers Morgan’s ratings woes

Watch the author’s full analysis of Piers Morgan’s ratings on The Wonderful World of Stu

By Dan Andros

CNN officially announced Piers Morgan as the replacement for the legendary Larry King on September 8th, 2010. The next few months on CNN saw a steady barrage of promotion to hype the shakeup, hoping to end what was dubbed a ‘ratings depression’ in the 9pm time slot.

Piers himself said before his program debuted that the ‘only benchmark’ of his success would be whether or not he could lift CNN’s ratings from ‘cellar-dwelling’ status. Well, he’s had 664 shows to get the job done – has he?

Nope, not even close.

A closer look at his entire ratings history leaves no doubt: Piers Morgan has failed and he’s failed spectacularly. You might be saying CNN has been in the ratings gutter for quite some time now and it’s a little unfair to unleash an entire ratings expose on a single host. That’s a completely legitimate argument – but Piers Morgan’s massive ego and unwarranted arrogance nullifies it.

From day one, Piers has made it clear that this is about him and only him. Instead of humbly entering the cable arena, Piers entered guns blazing:

After the months of promotion, Piers did come out of the gate sprinting. He placed 2nd in the demo on his opening night with 521,000 viewers, thanks to debut guest Oprah Winfrey. But Hannity still managed to score 600,000 and win the night with an interview of Sarah Palin. Piers’ assessment of the situation was strange, to say the least:

“Without that (Palin interview) we would’ve beaten Fox.”

Ah yes, the old ‘if the other team didn’t score all those touchdowns we totally would have won!’ excuse. Works every time.

On show number two, Stern did indeed score a first place finish for Piers with 551,000 in demo, beating Hannity (506,000) for the night. A good start, but the next few weeks would be a harbinger of things to come. Over the next 27 shows, Piers averaged just 228,000 in demo and that number was inflated by CNN’s breaking news coverage of the Arab Spring during the month of February.

Amazingly, Piers’ ego remained completely intact. On his satellite radio program, Howard Stern recalled running into Piers a few weeks after their interview. Piers asked Howard how ‘my’ interview was and actually made Stern an offer: “you can come on my show once a month” he said. Ironically, the stated purpose was to help boost Stern’s career – not the other way around. Imagine telling the guy responsible for your only number one finish that he needed career help and that you were the one who could provide it. Imagine having a show that loses badly to Hannity and Rachel Maddow night after night – and telling a man who has made hundreds of millions of dollars off of his broadcasting talent that you are going to save his career. It’s madness.

During those first 27 shows, Piers came in 3rd or 4th place (out of 4) 20 times, or 74% of the time. A terrible start by any measure, but unfortunately for Piers and CNN, this would be as good as it gets. Over the next few years, Piers Morgan Tonight would be a consistent 3rd place finisher and whenever a decent made-for-TV trial landed on CNN Headline News, Piers was a guaranteed last place finish.

Earlier this year, during the Jody Arias trial, Piers finished in last place an amazing 24 straight times, covering a period of 5 straight weeks. The only thing that stopped the streak was a miserable 85,000 put up by Headline News on March 29th – but Piers picked up the streak again the following Monday and came in last another 10 straight times. Piers finished last 34 out of 35 nights – and it wasn’t just because he was getting decent numbers and others went through the roof.

He was awful.

He averaged a measly 119,000 viewers in the demo during the stretch, which included some insanely low scores:

89,000 (3 times)

The low point was on April 8th with a 68,000 in demo.

To give you an idea of how miserable these numbers are – during that same month of April, Fox News’ Red Eye averaged 155,000 in demo. Red Eye airs at 3am ET, when almost the entire country is asleep.

The losing streak finally came to a halt on April 15th, 2013 when the Boston Marathon bombing occurred. Piers scored a rare first place finish, squeaking past Hannity on that tragic Monday as CNN covered the bombings with all of its breaking news team. Later in the week, Piers would be the benefactor of the manhunt for the bombers, scoring two more first place finishes in demo on Thursday and Friday.

This is a trend that seems repeat itself with Piers – so much so that science is considering calling it ‘Piers Law’ – and that is: when Americans suffer, Piers Morgan is having a pretty decent day. When Americans are having a pretty decent day, Piers Morgan ratings suffer.

In late 2012, Piers had placed third (out of four) in 13 of 14 straight shows before tragedy struck – the Sandy Hook massacre. CNN’s breaking news coverage helped lead Piers to another rare first place finish.

Between September 10th, 2012 and November 6th 2012 he placed third or last an astonishing 40 out of 45 times. His only first place finishes came the day Hurricane Sandy hit shore and on election night, which wasn’t even him hosting the program, it was CNN’s election coverage.

In 2011, another abysmal streak of distant 3rd and last place finishes (18 out of 20 shows) was stopped by the Tsunami in Japan, where CNN’s breaking news coverage lifted Piers to a 1st place on Friday March 11th.

When a tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma and devastated an entire town – it lifted Piers Morgan ratings up to #1 on May 20th.

The pattern is clear: very few Americans intentionally watch Piers Morgan.

Sean Hannity averages more than double Piers per night in demo – 476,000 for Hannity and 235,000 for Piers. Maddow also beats Piers with a nightly average of 312,000 in demo.

In his first 664 shows, Piers Morgan has placed 3rd or 4th (out of 4) an astonishing 85% of the time. He most commonly comes in a distant third place (60% of the time) behind Hannity and Maddow and is dead last with 25% of his shows. He occasionally places 2nd (11%) and he only lands in first place a mere 4% of the time.

But even the 4% is misleading. Let’s take a closer look: that 4% is a total of 28 shows out of the 664 he’s aired to date. Of those 28 first place finishes, very few of them are legitimate wins.

To score a ‘legitimate’ win, Piers has to be on the air and so does Hannity. Vacations and guest-hosts don’t count. So here’s the breakdown of his 28 first place finishes:

  • 7 were due to breaking news coverage of natural disasters and tragedies (Tsunami, hurricane Sandy, Tornado in Moore OK, Sandy hook shooting, etc)
  • 3 were not against Hannity (he had fill in hosts those nights)
  • 13 were due to alternate programming (debates, SOTU, inauguration, holiday schedule, etc)

That leaves five legitimate first place finishes.

FIVE out of six hundred and sixty four programs – or 0.8% of the time – Piers Morgan Tonight has been successful.

By his own measure, Piers Morgan has been a ratings failure during his tenure at CNN. There is no refuting the numbers – the only question that remains – is his ego still intact?

If only his ratings were as big as his inflated ego…

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  • http://www.artinphoenix.com/gallery/grimm snowleopard (cat folk gallery)

    Only .8% success rate? That makes him a success to the left in which disaster and failure while adhering to the failed ideology of hate, despair and corruption are rewarded.

    Can we send him to North Korea?

    • http://www.facebook.com/rigoberto.serrano.39 Pachy Serrano

      U always made the most stupid comments . . . Ever! Say something constructive please, cause you mouth is full of hate and destruction

      • Gristle McThornbody

        He’s a furry.

  • Anonymous

    Great job on Stu’s show, Dan. You and Stu need to have a show together again, Whatever happened to that website anyways? If Glenn has the money to forgo money saving light bulbs (maybe LEDs are have better light than CFLs) couldn’t you guys keep that site, maybe make it so only people with a blaze subscription can get in? Here’s the site I’m talking about:

  • americanathlete

    Piers Morgan go back to Europe where you belong!

    • robertb

      I doubt if they will let him come back. Why does CNN think they can take other peoples rejects and we are so stupid that we will embrace them.  Sorry CNN. We are not the morons you might think we are. how long have we been telling you we hate Piers Morgan?

    • Victoria

      He isn’t wanted there!   Man now w/o a country…………..

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUrbEIqFl_Q Sam Fisher

    And that is why Liberalism sucks. Piers Morgan since you hate this country so much leave you Commie. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/rigoberto.serrano.39 Pachy Serrano

      He never has said he hates this country, in fact, he loves it. But, its OK to disagree or be mad for something this country is doing cause let me tell you, we are not perfect. No one is . . . but we ALL love America and we don’t have to be at war with each other just because few pundits say so . . . that’s why we are so divided right now, because we are followers . . . no leaders

      • Anonymous

        Greetings from the UK.

        Sorry to have to disagree, Pachy, but people like Piers really do hate your country. When they profess to love it they are referring to their own unrecognisable version of America which would have socialised medicine, generous welfare for the lazy and feckless, strict gun laws, total submission to the UN and an overnight conversion to atheism.

        They only care about America at all because it happens to be the most powerful country in the world. These people are not your friends.

  • Anonymous

    Well, here’s a link to the hardly conservative BBC article on the whole Piers Morgan scandal and why he was fired from the Mirror – why on earth did CNN hire him in the first place?

    Editor sacked over ‘hoax’ photosThe Mirror board said Morgan would be stepping down immediatelyDaily Mirror editor Piers Morgan has been sacked after the newspaper conceded photos of British soldiers abusing an Iraqi were fake.http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/3716151.stm

    • Guest

       Thanks for that info. It will come in handy.

      • Anonymous

        When he first was fired he was put on America’s Got Talent – he’s a friend of Simon Cowells.  He went on the talk show circuit and Jay Leno had him on. Jay said “There was some controversy around you and that’s why you left England to come here, right?”  Piers said that he’d probably better not talk about that and refused to answer questions about what had happened in England, which of course was his getting fired for faking pictures of British soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners.  It wasn’t a secret, so CNN had to know what he had done and why no one would hire him in England.  So why did they hire him in the first place?  They should have left him on America’s Got Talent where he spent his time telling small children they had no talent and watching them cry.  

        • Guest

          I agree.

        • http://www.facebook.com/rigoberto.serrano.39 Pachy Serrano

          At least, Piers can do entertainment shows . . . What else GB can do besides talking trash about other Americans and this President?? Nothing, Nada, Mierda!!

  • Joseph Kool

    I hope somebody beats the crap out of that little British twot

  • Anonymous

    Anyone who finishes after Rachael Madcow must really, really suck.

  • Anonymous

    Conservatives will ALWAYS dominate cable news and talk radio.
    But the left doesn’t count on either of those to spread its message.

    Sitcoms, MTV, popular music, etc—these are the venues that the left counts on to spread its message. Sure, you can beat Peirs Morgan, but can you beat “Family Guy”, or “The Big Bang Theory”? Because that’s what your kids are watching—up to fourteen million a night. And no, it’s not news, but it will do far more to shape young peoples views than news ever could.

    Besides, the nightly news of ABC, CBS, and NBC blow any cable news out of the water. CBS brought in six million viewers a night, ABC and NBC both saw seven million. So between the three, that’s 20 million a night. Lets see Fox take on those numbers.

    • Guest

       So you expect Fox, a cable pay for station to alone have numbers higher than a bunch of other stations that happen to be non-pay for?  LMAO!
      I am sure the democrat propaganda machine  gets it’s message out – we have seen from “the man on the street” type candid interviews of people that have ‘learned’ from watching Saturday night live, and the other typical fair. They are the mental dwarfs that would not be expected to watch Fox. LMAO  . . . . . “I can see Russia from my house” Every Lefty and liberal questioned about that one still thinks Sarah Palin said that. LMFAO!

  • Anonymous

    Piers Morgan is still on TV.  Why would a Glenn Beck writer dog on someone who found success where Glenn failed?

    • Guest

       Glenn didn’t fail – he got more audience than any of them. The fact that Piers is still on but behind the others tells a different story. 

      The fact that the left played dirty Media politics  in an effort to silence Beck (after all, only the Lefty Libby – Progressives are allowed First Amendment Rights) doesn’t reflect on Beck’s success, which is a success in his own right.

    • mercenarygrip

      Glenn failed??  What alternate universe do you live in?  It never ceases to amaze me how progressives can warp, twist, turn, and mangle reality to fit their world view.

  • Guest

    Buuuuut … Who cares?

  • Anonymous

    who watches Maddow?–they must be sick! everyone loves a brit accent, he wont leave this country like all Lefties they make too much money here, they complain of capitalism while making their money off capitalism. Glenn Beck didn’t fail he created his own Media conglomerate–ever more powerful than oprah-no one watches own! Progressives Hate America and ultimately will fail because they follow RulesForRadicals by Lucifer. they will fail unless we get All People Back to God And His Church!! 

    • http://www.facebook.com/rigoberto.serrano.39 Pachy Serrano

      GB will NEVER be as powerful and loved like Oprah is . . . you are dreaming!

      • Perrius Maximus

        Oprah Winfrey is very much like an old whale, washed up on the beaches of history.

  • Anonymous

    What kind of name is Piers?  His parents must have known he would be a joke and gave him a comical name. 

  • Anonymous

    And B.O. has had about 4 1/2 years to turn around the economy and to help with the

    unemployment problem. Which one is learning from the other?

  • AR Defense

    Here is a great page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BoycottPiersMorganCNN 

  • Gristle McThornbody

    Guys? Like, seriously, you guys?

    Glenn’s cock must be really, really, really small?

    Who else repeatedly has this professional pissing contest?

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUrbEIqFl_Q Sam Fisher

      Yous should know all about that problem.

      • Anonymous

        Sammy sweetheart, I give you a shout-out at the 7 minute mark.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4N_Hu79hvI

        • MariaSanchez


          • Anonymous

            Maria you must really love me.  Every time you see my smiling face you raise the flag.  A sure sign of appreciation, thank you.  Do you like Costco as much as I do?

    • Anonymous

      GB has a GIANT cock – which is why you are so butt-sore

  • Anonymous

    Oh Piers you really are such a “toffee nose”.  You are an “eastender” by  your actions and lack of good manners and civility.  I hope that one day you will return to England as the US has not fallen in love with you by any stretch of the imagination. “You’re a loser and you are not what you appear to be.” paraphrasing the Beatles. TaTa.

  • Anonymous

    LOL, so this is the reporting piece that show how burnt with envy Stu is when thinking of P. Morgan? LOL. Laughed all the way through.

  • bucketnutz

    These Liberal socialists never give up no matter how many times the public rejects their politics and their ideology. Larry King got better ratings on the toilet than this guy gets on stage.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rigoberto.serrano.39 Pachy Serrano

    I do not understand what GB will gain by putting other hosts down just because he has higher ratings?? It like the bully in school who tells other kids . . . you are a nobody, my shoes, my shirt, and my friends are better than you . . . So stupid, that’s why I don’t trust any pundits out there, they all about ratings and money. Piers will always have his followers, even if they are few or a lot; and GB will have his as well . . . The cake is big enough for everyone, don’t you think?? 

    • Gristle McThornbody

      It is the least Christ-like thing a host can do.

      Glenn really, really, REALLY reminds me of Biff Tannen from the Back to the Future trilogy.

      “Hey, Obama! Why don’t you make like a tree and get out of here.”

      “AWWW Piers’ ratings are terrible. About as terrible as a screen door on a battleship!”

      Then you realize that Biff lives alone with his angry grandmother, never gets the girl he wants, and needs to surround himself with goons in order to feel wanted.

      Glenn is like a Greek tragedy…and that’s why I keep coming here.

  • Sharon Pan

     My Uncle Jordan got a new Infiniti QX60 Hybrid by working off of a laptop… right here


  • Ron Smith

    I like the CNN network and much of what they broadcast except for Piers.  I miss Larry.  I’ve found the wife watching him once or twice but she explained she was just “flipping around” to different channels and CNN had apparently spent good money to get some huge star on that night which of course gets my goat and she quickly switches away because she knows that idiot Piers is banned from my house forever.  Buy all the Charlie Sheen and Howard Stern time you want it will still be “the unwatched Piers interviews” in my families many homes.

    You don’t get to spew lies and try to use your media platform to push your foreign assfaced Anti-gun agenda in my country and smile about it afterward. This isn’t London dumbass!

    Done and done. Seeya!

  • Anonymous

    Is Piers Morgan still on the air? I’m surprised. Who would watch that arrogant limey and listen to his twaddle?

  • Michael Bednarz

    Piers Morgan is a legend! ………..in his own mind.

  • Alex

    PM is no friend of America, he is interested only in your Yankee dollar, beware entertainers from the old country with bad manners.

  • FingerBlisters

    $6,000,000 per year!!!! For Piers Morgan? Was he worth it CNN?

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