I haven’t been following the O’Reilly-Olbermann feud too closely. All I know is this: O’Reilly ("The O’Reilly Factor") is starting a petition directed to MSNBC, asking that the network get rid of Olbermann ("Countdown") and replace him with Phil Donahue. Both O’Reilly and Olbermann air at the same time (weekdays at 8:00).
I guess it’s supposed to be snark or something.
But as this Kos post tells us, and as this ratings sheet (PDF) tells us, there’s something else going on: FOX ratings are in a free fall.
While the O’Reilly Factor still has far more viewers than Countdown, its viewship has plunged 21% in the key 25-54 demographic over the past year. Olbermann’s show, on the other hand, has increased 55% with the same demographic over the same time. I guess that explains O’Reilly’s desire to change his competition.
In fact, FOX is doing worse all around, as KingOneEye explains:
In the key demographic group of viewers aged 25-54, the Total Day ratings for MSNBC rose 47% while Fox declined -13%.
Fox’s Prime Time erosion was even greater at -21%. In fact, in every hour in the daypart, from 3:00pm till midnight, Fox numbers were lower. This is a distinction that only Fox, of the five nets surveyed, was able to achieve.
The largest decline was suffered by Greta Van Susteran’s On The Record (-22%), followed closely by O’Reilly (-21%). Hannity & What’s His Name took the Bronze (-17%). Of the MSNBC programs opposite those losers, Olbermann’s Countdown was the biggest gainer (55%), which I’m sure doesn’t bother O’Reilly at all.
The growing feud between Bill and Keith is something unique in commercial television. It has taken on a personal tone that I can’t recall witnessing before. There is, however, a difference in style. While Olbermann is merciless in his mockery, he sticks to commenting on the substance of O’Reilly’s program and the stupid or demonstrably false things that O’Reilly says. Billy, on the other hand, seems to respond only by pointing out that more people watch his show than Olbermann’s. You know, the 2 million flies defense. But if O’Reilly isn’t careful, he may soon not have even that to crow about.