Jeff Bercovici has been a Cable Gamer fave since TCG first ran across him at Conde Nast Portfolio, and so she was happy when he landed on his feet at Daily Finance. But wherever he goes, he is always interesting and provocative—a trend-spotter. A case in point is this piece on the erosion of Keith Olbermann. As Bercovici observes:
Ratings for Olbermann’s Countdown have been soft recently, and the 8 p.m. shows on CNN and HLN have narrowed the gap. In the important demographic of adults 25 to 54—the group advertisers are looking to reach—Countdown was down 44% year-over-year in January. It averaged 268,000 viewers in that demo, only 3,000 more than Nancy Grace’s show on HLN, and 12,000 more than CNN’s Campbell Brown. Fox News’s O’Reilly Factor dominated the hour with 964,000 viewers age 25 to 54, and was the only cable news show in the time period to increase its audience, by 55%.
And Jeff adds this, too:
But there are also more subjective signs that Olbermann’s stridency and lack of proportion are alienating some of his natural allies. Quite a few eyebrows elevated last week when Jon Stewart, in a parody of one of Olbermann’s “Special Comment” segments, called out the newsman for going way over the top in his denunciations of Republican Senator-elect Scott Brown of Massachusetts. The criticism was all the more remarkable, given that Stewart and Olbermann usually take the same side on most issues, especially when it comes to Fox News and the Republicans.
To which TCG would add, “Don’t forget, Olby is crazy, and craziness has a way of catching up with you.”
Which means, of course, that Olbermann won’t simply fade away. He has too much of a sense of self-proportion—or self-disproportion—for that. And so TCG repeats her long-held prediction: KO will KO himself. He will go out with a bang, turning some slight, real or imagined, into a duel-worthy incident that requires him, as a matter of honor, to give the suits at MSNBC or Comcast a piece of his explosive mind—and temper.
He won’t go gently. He will rage, rage, rage against the dying of his ratings. And finally explode, like a bomb.
Reposted from The Cable Game, 29 January 2010