Is Donald Trump firing himself and his show in terms of ratings? Exlusive research by The Atlantic finds that his ratings are going down fast — perhaps not unsurprising since his show’s audience is among the most liberal skewered.
Joshua Green writes:
He may have gotten President Obama’s attention, but Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy is presumed by most people to be a stunt designed to goose ratings for his television show, “Celebrity Apprentice” on NBC. But while Trump has gotten plenty of airtime by suggesting, wrongly, that the president was not born in the United States, Nielsen rating for “Celebrity Apprentice” are lower than they were a year ago — and dropping fast. One reason Trump’s audience is abandoning him may be that, according to demographic research of primetime television viewers provided exclusively to The Atlantic by National Media Inc., a firm that places political ads on television, the audience for “Celebrity Apprentice” is among the most liberal in primetime television . Rather than add viewers, Trump foolishly appears to be driving them away.
Gauging the effect of Trump’s presidential run on his viewership is a fairly tricky science. There are actually two distinct “Apprentice” shows — the ordinary “Apprentice” and “Celebrity Apprentice,” which is the one currently airing Sunday nights on NBC. What’s more, the neither “Apprentice” series runs for a full television season. According to media experts like Feltus, in order to properly measure Trump’s effect on his audience it is necessary to do an apples-to-apples comparison — that is, to measure the current season of “Celebrity Apprentice” against the most recent season of that same show, which aired last spring. (Last fall, NBC also aired a run of the ordinary “Apprentice.”)
By that measure, Trump’s ratings have clearly dropped. The fall-off has been especially pronounced over the last few weeks, a period that coincides with Trump’s emphasis on Obama’s birth certificate. “Something is definitely going on there,” another media buyer told me. “He’s dropped — and that’s a big… dip.” Given the liberal skew of Trump’s viewership, that dip might not be surprising.
One theory Feltus advances: maybe Trump is trying to change the demographic and get more people on the right to watch his show. But it’s a tricky game: many celebrities and politicians have found that it is far easier to LOSE a constituency than it is to quickly supplant it with another one. I can easily see how some who watched Trump’s shows would never want to watch another show with him again since to some voters he is no longer amusing, charismatic or a political joke but a repulsive, polarizing hate-monger.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.