CNN boss Jon Klein's fifth anniversary at the network comes up next week. But he's already gotten a glum little present: Last Thursday, for the 100th time during the past year, CNN placed fourth in the prime-time cable-news ratings in the advertiser-friendly age 25-to-54 demographic. OK, technically it was only the 98th time CNN has finished fourth -- on two nights, it was actually fifth, trailing both CNBC and HLN, as they call Headline News these days. If Nick at Night starts airing Walter Cronkite reruns, I shudder to think where CNN might wind up.
UPDATE: This item originally said, incorrectly, that CNN 100 times finished in fourth place for the entire day. Actually, the fourth-place finish was for prime-time hours. During many daytime slots, CNN finishes second to Fox News in the 25-to-54 demo. (It's MSNBC that's the weak sister of cable news during daylight, frequently lagging in fifth place -- sometimes with as few as 55,000 viewers in the 25-to-54 demo.) CNN executives argue that the daytime hours are a pure news competition, but that they're an apple among oranges after sundown when Fox News and MSNBC turn mostly to opinion and analysis shows. "CNN is the only cable news channel that continues to provide non-partisan programming representing all points of view in weekday prime," a network spokeswoman said.