MSNBC’s high expectations for its new primetime show The ReidOut with Russia conspiracy theorist Joy Reid are fading. Her first week as host brought mixed blessings, beginning with a ratings bang then sliding precipitously.
She replaced longtime Hardball host Chris Matthews after he was forced out over allegations of inappropriate conduct with women. His 7:00 p.m show drew a solid but aging audience for many years after he joined the network in 1997.
He laid the groundwork for Reid’s takeover as he exited on March 3 proclaiming, “The younger generations out there are ready to take the reins. We’ve seen them in politics, in the media, and fighting for the causes.”
Reid had hosted MSNBC’s AM Joy since 2016. Her ascension as the first black woman to host a primetime news show on a cable network was hailed as inspiring to black girls.
The name ReidOut appears to have been a play on the word ‘read’ used in gay culture parlance to describe “the act of pointing out a flaw in someone else, usually publicly,” according to the urban dictionary. Reid, perhaps the most obnoxious far-left critic of Republican politicians in media, was expected to bring nightly fireworks to prime time, ‘reading’ her despised opponents.
She has been adhering to the new methodology of news anchors across cable news channels, courting controversy and attacking the right on issues of race and progressive politics, particularly arch enemy President Donald Trump.
Reid racked up an impressive 2.6 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research as the show premiered last Monday. It was the second-most-watched show ever for MSNBC in that time slot, but her ratings quickly plummeted. She slipped to 2.14 million viewers on Tuesday, 2.02 million on Wednesday, 2.10 million on Thursday and bottoming out with 1.80 million on Friday.
On Monday she upstaged OutFront’s Erin Burnett, who only drew 1.3 million on CNN and Fox News’ The Story with Martha MacCallum which drew 2.1 million viewers, but Reid’s overall viewership dropped 32 points between Monday and Thursday. Burnett won the demo in the hour with 384,000 viewers between the ages of 25 to 54, according to Nielsen estimates. Reid only drew 288,000 viewers, landing at 19th place.
Network bosses had hoped she could appeal to viewers from a younger, more progressive crowd, something that the elder Matthews failed to do.
She proved that she could attract Democratic Party leadership, booking presumed presidential nominee Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Mayors Lori Lightfoot of Chicago and Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta for her first show.
Although these are the biggest ‘gets’ in left-wing politics, critics knocked the new host for failing to ‘read’ Biden, a senile, mumbling septuagenarian making off-the-wall statements that baffle viewers. She also fawned over Clinton, a mean and shrill caricature of her former self drenched in bitterness after years of striving and failing to become the first female president.
Although Reid grew the number of adults 25-54 watching by nearly 15 percent from Monday to Thursday, the key demographic for advertisers, she still placed consistently third overall in her time slot.
On Thursday viewership in the demo hit 325,000 but MSNBC was still stuck in third place. It edged closer to Fox News with 352,000 viewers, but CNN still won the time slot with 369,000 viewers.
McCallum eclipsed Reid by 29 points in the 25-54 demographic and four points overall. For the most recently completed quarter, Fox News won the hour in both the key demo and among total viewers.