Well, that didn’t take long.
You may recall that former Fox News anchor Shepard Smith left the network roughly a year ago this month after joining the upstart in 1996. According to reports at the time, ‘Shep’ had a “non-compete” clause in his contract that prevented him from simply signing on immediately with another network.
Well, he did eventually sign with another broadcaster – CNBC – and his new show debuted a month ago.
How has it gone for him?
Uh, it hasn’t.
Ratings for anchor Shephard Smith’s new CNBC show continue to roll in, and the former Fox News standout appears to be struggling with the new gig.
Smith worked as a Fox News anchor for 23 years before abruptly ending his career there in October 2019. The long-time anchor got a new gig at CNBC and his show “The News with Shepard Smith” premiered in September.
With a month now under his belt at CNBC, Smith’s ratings have continued to plummet, according to Nielsen Media Research data. “The News with Shepard Smith” has consistently been at the bottom of the barrel for 7 p.m. cable ratings and averaged 269,000 viewers between Sept. 30 – Oct, 23.
Smith’s 7 p.m. CNBC show also placed behind multiple shows, including Fox News’ Martha MacCallum, CNN’s Erin Burnett and MSNBC’s Joy Reid for that time period. The show even ranked lower than repeats of “Lou Dobbs Tonight” on Fox Business, which drew in 307,000 viewers, the data showed.
According to Nielson data, Smith drew 343,000 total viewers for his week one cume, but that fell to 268,000 the following week. Week three was worse, with 254,000 and last week cratered even more, coming in at only 242,000.
He’s also struggling in the key 26-54 demographic, averaging between a high of 58,000 and a low of 47,000 for the month.
So clearly, whatever it is Shep is doing, it’s not resonating with viewers.
These numbers are a far cry from what he was averaging back at Fox News, according to The Daily Caller: His then-3 p.m. EDT slot garnered about 1.3 million viewers by the time he left the network in 2019.
Nevertheless, for now anyway, CNBC is putting a public happy face on the dismal outing telling Mediaite the network has “received very positive feedback from viewers” and noting that the hourly news show “far exceeds the audience of” a previous 7 p.m. show.
“We are pleased with the launch of The News with Shepard Smith and have received very positive feedback from viewers,” CNBC said in a statement. “Not only is CNBC a new entrant in the general news genre, but news viewers are creatures of habit and it takes a long time to change those habits.”
“That said, the newscast far exceeds the audience of The Kudlow Report, which was the last regular news program to air on CNBC in the 7p hour back in the first quarter of 2014,” the statement continued. “We will continue to fight for every viewer every weeknight.”
That’s good because having to fight for viewers appears to be a given.