Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
February 26, 2003
POLITICS: It's Everyone Else Who's Crazy

Ratings flop Phil Donahue accuses the American viewing public of being part of a right-wing cabal!

Well, actually he accused MSNBC of trying to imitate FOX by sacking him to hire more right-leaning talk show hosts, but Donahue apparently ignores the little matter of his flatlining ratings. Donahue's call for more patient management might ring truer if it were not for two facts:

1. His ratings weren't going anywhere. Donahue compares his situation to the time it took FOX to overtake CNN, but FOX was a whole new channel (people gotta find it on the dial) and it was trending sharply upward for a long time. Phil's show was stuck in the cellar with no prospect of improving.

2. I don't have figures, but you have to assume that Donahue's name recognition is still tremendous. Everyone knows who he is and that his show was out there; people just didn't want to watch it. No amount of time will change that. Sure, NBC gave a little-known show called "Seinfeld" time to build name recognition -- but there was no need to do that for, say, the Chevy Chase late night show; if it didn't start well, it wasn't going to get any better. Like Chase, Donahue just couldn't recapture the magic of the mid-seventies. He should have had the grace to just admit that. But in Donahue's world, it's always somebody else's fault.

Big Oil, maybe?

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:37 PM | Politics 2002-03 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)
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