Posted by on March 19, 2023 1:47 pm
Categories: News Washington Examiner

CNN’s addition of Bill Maher segment fails to provide ratings bump

Bill Maher speaks at an event. (Photo by Casey Curry/Invision/AP)

CNN’s addition of Bill Maher segment fails to provide ratings bump

Heather Hunter March 19, 01:19 PMMarch 19, 01:19 PM Video Embed

When CNN added comedian Bill Maher to its Friday night lineup in February, the news channel hoped it would boost its rating gap, but now, the latest ratings show that the audience has dropped by nearly 50% during the 15-minute time slot.

According to Nielsen Research Data, CNN has reportedly lost 47% of its viewers in the 11:30-11:44 p.m. time period since January. They additionally lost 58% in the key advertiser-targeted 25-54 demographic during that same time frame.


Ratings for Real Time with Bill Maher: Overtime on CNN averaged just 368,000 total viewers and only 74,000 in the key demographic from February to early March.

CNN has begun airing segments of Maher’s Overtime show, an after-show segment of the weekly HBO late-night show, Real Time with Bill Maher, during CNN Tonight on Fridays at 11:30 p.m. starting in February. CNN and HBO are owned by the same parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery.

CNN has struggled to rework its late-night and prime-time lineup since it fired the 9 p.m. host Chris Cuomo at the end of 2021 and moved Don Lemon from 10 p.m. to mornings.

Executives for the network reportedly floated adding “news entertainment” personalities to fill out the evening lineup, and Maher seemed a natural fit.

Over at Fox News Channel, their comedic late-night show Gutfeld! hosted by snarky, conservative host Greg Gutfeld has exploded in popularity, averaging 1.9 million viewers during the same time period. Nielsen ratings have frequently shown Gutfeld’s show scoring a larger audience than Jimmy Fallon on NBC, Jimmy Kimmel on ABC, and Stephen Colbert on CBS.

Fox News bought a Super Bowl commercial this year, touting Gutfeld’s rating success and declaring him the “New King of Late Night.”

Maher’s addition to the CNN lineup has been met with criticism. The Daily Beast published a piece in February challenging CNN’s pick of Maher for their lineup.

Writer Louis Anslow questioned why CNN was “platforming” a “notorious anti-vaxxer.”


“In a desperate play for relevance, the flailing cable news network gave the neo-Luddite comic a primetime slot. That’s a mistake for ‘the most trusted name in news,’” Anslow wrote.

“It may prove to be a smart play for the increasingly irrelevant news channel. After all, neo-Luddism is just about the only thing bringing Democrats and Republicans together these days,” the Daily Beast writer said. “But it could easily backfire.”

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