The numbers are in for Keith Olbermann‘s first night on Current. You can’t tell a lot from any new show’s first night ratings—ask Jay or Conan—and there is not much direct precedent for a cable-news star moving shop to an almost-unknown network.
But for one night anyway, I would bet Olbermann and Al Gore are happy. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Keith got 179,000 viewers in the 25-to-54 advertising demographic, beating CNN (89,000) though trailing MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell (237,000), if not by much. (For what it’s worth, keep in mind that Fox News regularly beats all of them handily.)
Now some caveats: Current did not release the overall ratings. And CNN’s In the Arena was being hosted by a guest, not Eliot Spitzer. (I’m going to be charitable and assume that would depress ratings.) But considering that Current has been a ratings nonentity until now, to beat CNN at anything, with whatever asterisks, has to be far from the worst-case scenario.
If nothing else, Olbermann proved he can get people to find Current TV. Now to get them to stay there.