Overwhelmed by O'Reilly and Olbermann, CNN's Campbell Brown Resigns

At least she's being honest

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Faced with abysmal ratings ratings and "indomitable" competition, CNN's prime-time anchor Campbell Brown has resigned. She issued a statement conceding that her brand of straight, non-partisan reporting wasn't attracting audiences. "The simple fact is that not enough people want to watch my program, and I owe it to myself and to CNN to get out of the way so that CNN can try something else." Pundits praised her frank address, calling it "refreshing," "heartfelt" and "brutally honest."

Each weeknight, Brown faced tough competition from partisan firebrands Bill O'Reilly and Keith Olbermann on Fox News and MSNBC. O'Reilly's 3.34 million viewers and Olbermann's 1.03 million dwarfed her nightly average of 591,000.

  • It Doesn't Get More Competitive Than 8 PM, writes Brian Stelter at The New York Times: "Ms. Brown was anchoring in arguably the toughest time slot in cable news, 8 o’clock Eastern, the same time that  Bill O’Reilly of the Fox News Channel and  Keith Olbermann of MSNBC go head-to-head. Compared with those opinion-oriented shows, her news program was largely an afterthought, at least in the nightly ratings match-up."
  • CNN's Anchors Are Dropping Like Flies, notes Joe Pompeo at Business Insider: "Brown is the third high profile anchor to leave ratings-troubled CNN in the past seven months. Lou Dobbs left in November and Christiane Amanpour fled for ABC in March."
  • 'She Isn't Kidding,' writes Dylan Stableford at The Wrap: "Year-to-date, her program is down 38 percent in total viewers and 40 percent in the 25-to-54-year-old demo, according to Nielsen. The May 14 broadcast hit a record low for Brown in both categories -- averaging 314,000 total viewers and just 66,000 in the 24-54 demo."
  • What's Next for Brown and CNN?  Mediaite's Steve Krakauer, who broke the story, brainstorms: "The question becomes – what would CNN put at 8pmET? One possibility is a return to a Crossfire-like program, a possibility thrown out in the last few months. And what would Brown do next? Well she has two young children, 2 and 1, both of whom were born since she came over to be a prime time host after her time at NBC. Hosting at 8pmET eliminated the possibility of being around at night."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.