Former ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols has moved onto Turner Sports where she has worked not just on the sidelines, but as the host of her own Friday night show on CNN, Unguarded. Nichols, like many other former ESPNers who leave for competing networks, has seen her television role and profile expand at Turner Sports. It’s certainly deserved as Nichols put in a lot of good work at ESPN over the years.
However, like many other former ESPNers, the fact of the matter is that while there are great opportunities at other networks… they don’t always attract the same amount of eyeballs that ESPN does.
This past Friday night, CNN hit a 14 year ratings low in the key 25-54 viewership demo for Nichols’ half hour of programming at 10:30 PM ET. More from TV By The Numbers:
On Friday, May 30th, there were only 42,000 viewers among adults 25-54 for CNN’s Spotlight at 10PM and Unguarded with Rachel Nichols hit an all-time low at 10:30 PM, drawing only 29,000 viewers among adults 25-54. The average during CNN’s 10PM timeslot hour marked a 14 year low in adults 25-54 for CNN going all the way back to May 9th, 2000.
CNN’s downfall as a network has become one of the most reliable go-to jokes for comedians and writers across the country, so Nichols is far from alone in being involved in the network’s nosedive. That said, a 14 year ratings low is pretty astonishing. She was not helped by her lead-in at 10 PM – the show Spotlight featured the painfully self-absorbed Seth Macfarlane and his new atrocious movie A Million Ways to Die in the West. You can’t blame viewers for running away from that.
Nevertheless, this says less about Nichols’ talents and more about what she is working with. A 10:30 PM Friday night sports show on a cable news network is a death certificate in the ratings department. Hopefully for her sake, CNN can give her a real opportunity at a timeslot where she has a chance to compete or provide a better chance at success.