In Era of Low-Rated Daytime Shows, ‘Anderson’ Is a Hit

by | October 17, 2011 at 2:49 PM | TV News

Anderson Cooper (Photo: Getty Images)

Anderson Cooper (Photo: Getty Images)

Anderson Cooper looks like he has a daytime hit on his hands, and yet, that’s nothing to brag about.

Why? Because the ratings Cooper ekes out everyday on his syndicated afternoon talk show, “Anderson,” are paltry compared to the audiences daytime talk shows used to draw in order to qualify as hits.

It’s another sign of the fragmented times – when there’s so much to watch on afternoon TV, and a dwindling audience available to watch all of it, that a show such as “Anderson” can score ratings in the mid-1′s and still be considered a hit because those low ratings are nevertheless among the highest ratings for any new syndicated daytime show this season.

The New York Post reported on this phenomenon here. As The Post story indicates, once upon a time, a successful daytime show would draw anywhere from 5 million to 10 million viewers daily. “The heyday of ‘Oprah’ and her 10 million talk-show viewers is a distant memory of a time likely never to be seen again,” The Post story says.

By contrast, “Anderson” is averaging a 1.4 rating in its first three weeks, according to The Post – or an average of 1.8 million viewers every afternoon.

So why are such numbers still considered successful?

For the simple reason that they’re not low enough for anyone to declare the show unprofitable. For starters, there are still plenty of sponsors out there who are willing to pay for commercial time to reach 1.8 million viewers – even if that is a far cry from 10 million.

In addition, Cooper’s salary is presumably the most expensive part of producing this show – which is to say, even if they pay him a couple of million dollars a year, the cost of producing a barebones talk show – just a studio with some chairs really — that reaches 1.8 million people is still low enough for such a production to be profitable.

And, expectations for ratings are just so much lower than they used to be. These days, if a new syndicated show scores a rating above a 1, then it stands a pretty good chance of seeing a second season. Time was, if a syndicated show couldn’t get above a 2 or 3 in the ratings, it got canceled.

For now, “Anderson” looks like it’s here to stay. The only question we really have about this show’s longevity has to do with Cooper’s stamina — with a daytime show and an evening show on CNN, “AC360,” isn’t he burning the candle at both ends a little bit?


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