Chris Cuomo’s NewsNation show starts with low ratings

A still frame from the opening reel of Chris Cuomo's NewsNation program "Cuomo."
A still frame from the opening reel of Chris Cuomo’s NewsNation program “Cuomo.” (Image via NewsNation broadcast, Graphic by The Desk)

When Chris Cuomo was at CNN, his nightly opinion show “Cuomo Prime Time” was one of the highest-rated shows on cable news.

So, after months of hyping his brand-new show on Nexstar’s NewsNation as something different, it stood to reason that many who watched him during his time at CNN would tune in for a curious look.

But that did not happen.

Cuomo’s inaugural broadcast drew just 147,000 overall viewers in the 8 p.m. Eastern time slot (5 p.m. Pacific) Monday evening, making it the lowest-rated program of the night among cable news shows.

The show aired opposite Fox News heavyweight Tucker Carlson, whose program “Tucker Carlson Tonight” drew 2.875 million overall viewers. On MSNBC, “All In with Chris Hayes” came in second place with 1.4 million viewers, while at CNN, “Anderson Cooper 360” had 814,000 viewers.

Even Newsmax beat Cuomo in the ratings, bringing in 151,000 total viewers to “Eric Bolling: The Balance,” a progressive media watchdog program.

Cuomo’s program did even worse with the key demographic that advertisers care about, with just 2,000 viewers logged among adult viewers between the ages of 25 and 54 years old.

The viewership data was collected and reported by Nielsen Research Group early Tuesday morning.

Cuomo opened his inaugural broadcast by promising to be different from other programs on television. In his opening monologue, he promised to cover the devastation in Florida left by Hurricane Ian long after other media outlets left the scene, and warned that civil unrest in Iran could spill over into the United States.

Cuomo also praised his bosses at Nexstar Media Group, the parent company of NewsNation, and said his program would be bolstered by the ability to tap into local news resources at over 200 Nexstar-owned broadcast stations across the country.

He did not bring up Hurricane Ian or the protests in Iran for the remainder of his show, and at no point in the 60 minutes of his first broadcast did he leverage any of Nexstar’s local newsrooms. Instead, Cuomo came out of his first commercial break by discussing the ongoing conflict in Ukraine — something that is broadly covered by other cable news outlets — and invited two former government officials to weigh in on the situation.

Cuomo’s next act was an interview with comedian Bill Maher that was taped at the conclusion of Maher’s HBO program last Friday. The interview ended with a cliffhanger and a promise that the rest of the taped interview would air on Cuomo’s Tuesday broadcast.

After another commercial break, Cuomo introduced former CBS News anchor and journalist Dan Rather, who was immediately asked if he actually wrote the tweets that went out to his over 2 million followers. The rest of the interview saw largely softball questions lodged at Rather about the state of democracy and journalism, none of which resulted in any particularly thoughtful or unique answers.

Cuomo’s Monday evening show ended with a pledge to take phone calls from viewers. The only call that he took that evening was one from his mother. During the call, Cuomo asked if she enjoyed the show and if he did a good job. She affirmed.

But the rating tell a different story, in that Cuomo was apparently not missed enough after his CNN show ended in controversy. Cuomo was terminated after CNN executives found his consultations with his brother, a former New York Governor who was in the middle of a sexual harassment scandal, violated the network’s code of ethics.

Cuomo sued CNN and its parent company, Warner Bros Discovery, for $125 million. In his lawsuit, he said the network tarnished his reputation to the point that no one wanted to hire him.