This is What Terrorist Prisoners Did to Me -- And Why They Should Be Kept at Gitmo | Main | Bloomberg: Govt unemployment figures may be vastly understated due to modeling flaws
February 03, 2010

Low Ratings May Doom Keith Olbermann?

What a dick move I just did. Yes, that's the way Andrew Malcolm sells the story on his LATimes blog, but he knows it's not true, the same way I know it's not true, but he knew that headline would grab people, and, well, yeah, I figured he was right.

So, okay, I just sort of lied. The question mark doesn't make it okay. Olbermann isn't going to be fired because everyone else at MSNBC (maybe except Maddow, who knows) has lower ratings and they've tried and tried for an actual ratings-winner and Keith Olbermann was as close as they came. And he failed, too.

MSNBC is a basket-case and always has been and always will be. And when you're always in the ratings cellar in every single timeslot, well, Keith Olbermann's smaller-than-Hot-Air audience of 268,000 still looks okay by comparison.

So Olbermann will probably not be fired, at least not until MSNBC finally goes dark, which probably won't happen either, because it's still dirt cheap to run true-crime documentaries all weekend and the channel can afford to lose a bit of money with NBC's wallet behind it. (Although, you know: NBC itself might not continue as a bona-fide network.)

Still: Dishonest headline aside, Olbermann's ratings are back where they belong. In the toilet.

There are a couple of reasons for KO's frustration and anger and volume and core meltdown over the Massachusetts election outcome, among other issues of galactic import. For one, lots more ranters around nowadays on all sides, including that colleague of Keith's with the hugest head in TV. Please, no 3-D for him!

Also, Olbermann's showboat is sinking. Listing in you-know-which direction.

It's as if he thinks talking LOUDER will keep his low cell battery from dying.

Worst, Olbermann's network president, Phil Griffin, is publicly praising him, always an ominous sign in television. While referring to his host almost in the past tense. "Keith has been our tentpole," Griffin says, adding later, "I'm pleased with where we are."

Where they are, as Jeff Bercovici points out over at Daily Finance, is way behind the big boys over at Fox News, Bill O'Reilly and gang. In fact, Keith is so far behind Bill, he can't even make out the state of the license plate, let alone the numbers. Bercovici thinks Americans may be outgrowing Olbermann's schtick.

In the most desirable TV demographic of 25-54, which Keith will soon outgrow himself, "Countdown" lost 44% of its audience from the beginning of President Obama's term until this year. It could have been worse -- say, 45%.

Olbermann averaged 268,000 viewers last month in that sector. That's just several thousand sets of those eyes more than Campbell Brown over on CNN. According to one count, Keith even finished in that time slow behind Nancy Grace. Nancy Grace!

Olbermann rode the Bush Derangement Train to... well, never to good ratings, but he could occasionally claim he beat an O'Reilly holiday repeat in a particular demographic.

But those glory days of incandescent mediocrity are far behind him. Yes, once upon a time, he blazed with the light of a nearly-average star; long ago, he soared high to almost-middling heights. He can still recall the days of wine and roses when moderate ratings were almost within his grasp; when he very nearly sipped the modestly-sweet nectar of almost-median performance.

One day he will tell his grandchildren -- well, grand-nephews and grand-nieces -- about his meteoric rise to the middle, or close to it anyway, and his fall -- not a terribly long fall, but enough to give you a bruise -- back to the bottom.

One day, he will say wistfully, I almost came pretty close to nearly getting a nontrivial number of people knowing vaguely who in the hell I almost was.

Thanks to Kent.

Punching Up: As you all know, when you pick a fight for attention, you punch up, not down. You take a shot at someone bigger, with a bigger audience. You don't get into spats with people with smaller audiences, because while that helps them, it doesn't really help you very much.

Keith Olbermann is going out of his way to mention Hot Air, even when Ed Morrissey offers a pretty routine bit of commentary about a non-issue. It's really just an excuse to mention Hot Air.

Because Hot Air is bigger than Keith Olbermann is.

So, why does Hot Air return the favor, flattering a guy with a smaller audience? Well, probably jut because it's TV, and that seems like it should be bigger and more influential than a blog. But it's not.

We are in a weird time where the lowest-ranked cable TV shows are now actually more poorly rated than the biggest blogs. And it's weird, now, because we're just not used to it. We're still thinking TV is big leagues, blogging is for wannabes.

But that is changing. Keith Olbermann's show is nothing but a ranty blog with camera-changes. Vidblogging never took off on the internet because it's too slow and boring -- people read much faster than someone can talk.

But vidblogging is now the centerpiece on MSBNC, because TV has always been slow and boring. People are used to it.

I can't yet claim this site beats Olbermann, or even pitiable pudgebunny Chris Matthews.


Well, my ratings will go up, and theirs will continue going down.

We'll meet in a place Keith Olbermann considers his comfort zone -- in the middle.

digg this
posted by Ace at 01:29 PM

| Access Comments

Recent Comments
Your Decidedly Devious Uncle Palpatine, GECSPLAN, SMR and Ancient Slavonaut Newsletters: "848. Get fucked, wammo. ..."

Bitter Clinger: "825 821. Name two people here claiming the delay i ..."

Bertram Cabot, Jr.: " The usual routine ..."

#neverskankles : "821 I'm just amazed at the amount of hate I got he ..."

Deplorable Jay Guevara, now with an added spark of divinity [/i][/s][/b]: "[i]829 Dems play hardball to win at all costs. G ..."

Moron Robbie - Google Takeout will let you download all your docs on Google [/i] [/b] [/s]: "I'm a big fan of gas station chicken livers and ta ..."

Trigger Warning: "Prediction: If Senate Republicans agree to delay s ..."

Jigisup: "Pathetic panic here. Whelan already has the real p ..."

Jonah: "I think Brian is right. I just fear getting up one ..."

Josef K.: "[i]How can you possibly address allegations until ..."

wammo: "718 eric ruyak child rape victim of gary orr was a ..."

Jewells45: "OT but my bestie had her surgery today where they ..."

Recent Entries

Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64