The first week ratings for Joy Reid's new primetime show The ReidOut on MSNBC likely weren't what the controversial host was hoping for.
Despite a star-packed lineup that featured presumed Democratic candidate Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Reid's public appeal faded stunningly quickly. Her overall viewership dropped by 32 points from Monday to Friday, according to Nielson Media Research.
In the key 25-54 demographic, Reid only attracted 288,000 viewers, a shocking 19th place for the heavily promoted premiere week. Potential advertisers are particularly interested in that younger demographic.
Reid took over the 7:00 p.m. slot after Chris Matthews' resigned from the network abruptly following allegations of inappropriate conduct. He had hosted Hardball with Chris Matthews since 1997. In the last few years of his career at MSNBC, Matthews also struggled in the time slot, particularly among the 25-54 demographic. Seventy-four at the time of his retirement, Matthews had skewed to a much older audience by the end of his time on television.
MSNBC's most recent assembly of their primetime block features only a far-left group of commentators with a seemingly common mission to criticize the president and Republicans at all times. Even among that group which includes Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, and Lawrence O'Donnell, Reid stands out as the furthest left politically.
Advertisers and MSNBC could both be learning a lesson at this point, as the new star of progressive activist journalism was out nearly every other cable news network in the time slot. Fox News's The Story With Martha MacCallum, which also airs at 7:00, beat the ReidOut by 29 points in the 25-54 demographic and four points overall.
Reid is also a source of controversy, historically, having been accused of making comments on a blog early in her career deemed deeply homophobic. She has, to date, never apologized for those remarks.
Early on Thursday, following the news that former presidential candidate and entrepreneur Herman Cain passed away, Reid tweeted a remark that seemed to blame Cain's attendance at President Trump's rally for his death.
Herman Cain has died, weeks after attending Donald Trump’s Tulsa rally, not wearing a mask. Condolences to his family. https://t.co/LvmEf2pWH3— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) July 30, 2020
MSNBC's insistence on leaning far to the left has cost them in ratings across the board, particularly in the key 25-54 age group. The network currently has 13 of the 15 lowest-rated cable news shows in that demographic. The ReidOut was highly touted in the days before its premiere last Monday. Fans of Reid's and the network expressed excitement that a Black woman had been chosen to command the 7:00 p.m. slot after more than two decades of Chris Matthews. That enthusiasm, however, has not translated into winning ratings.
Critics of Reid have noted that her affinity for conspiracy theories seems to have ginned up after her move to primetime. In just her first week, Reid has suggested that Trump would refuse to leave the White House should he lose the election and said the president looks at Russian President Vladimir Putin as "a father figure."