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November 5, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

It was the kind of week of breaking news coverage that has usually brought CNN big ratings — tempestuous Congressional hearings over the Affordable Care Act, the shooting of a TSA agent and the wounding of six others at the Los Angeles World Airport, but when it was all over CNN came away with its lowest ratings since having to compete against last summer’s Olympic Games. It was also the cable news network’s worst performance since Jeff Zucker took over as head of the network at the beginning of the year. During primetime it averaged just 385,000 total viewers and 95,000 in the key 25-54 age group. Viewers instead flocked to Fox news, which averaged 2.37 million total viewers and 377,000 in the target demo. MSNBC averaged 683,000 viewers and 150,000 adults 25-54. The New York Times attributed the ratings fall to the network’s wall-to-wall coverage of the ACA hearings, noting that many viewers opposing the measure wanted to get their news from the conservative-leaning Fox News, and those supporting it wanted to get their news from the liberal-leaning MSNBC.’s Dylan Byers suggests that the ratings plunge raises material questions about Zucker’s strategy. “Obviously, righting a tanker takes time,” Byers wrote, “and Zucker has moved systematically through CNN’s programming: a new morning show, Jake Tapper’s late-afternoon program, the relaunched Crossfire at 6:30 p.m. But the biggest ratings come in primetime, and with the exception of AC360 Later, Zucker hasn’t made any dramatic moves there.”