This week, Michael Smerconish returns to the 9 P.M. timeslot on CNN. For the past two weeks, Bill Weir has been anchoring using the CNN Tonight branding. CNN Tonight will become a permanent show this summer in the 10 o’clock slot. However, tonight, Smerconish’s show did not use the CNN Tonight branding. Instead, the show used the New Day studio that it used previously in primetime and used the Smerconish branding. In several ways, it was as if CNN did not want to associate it with CNN Tonight. Smerconish’s ratings were comparable to Weir’s, although Smerconish’s were slightly higher. Weir tended to be consistent around the lower 100s, in the 120-130 ballpark, whereas Smerconish was on the higher side of the 100s. Smerconish’s average was 190 in the demo, whereas the average for Weir’s two weeks is 156.
If anything, this shows that CNN is still trying to see what works in the 9 P.M. (and presumably 10 P.M. this summer) slot. First, they seemingly settled on Weir and CNN Tonight, however, it seems that they’re willing to throw that to the side to try something new.