Al Jazeera America Tanks in Opening Week

Highest-rated show draws mere 54,000 viewers
Al Jazeera America / AP

Al Jazeera America / AP


Al Jazeera America’s launch in place of the failed Current TV network was an unsurprising dud, TV Newser reports.

Available in more than 40 million homes, its initial ratings were poor for cable news standards. Its best showing of the week was just 54,000 viewers for Thursday night’s Real Money with Ali Velshi:

The 2 PM Saturday edition of “News Live” averaged 48,000 viewers, while “Inside Story” Thursday at 12:30 PM averaged 41,000 viewers. “News Live” Thursday from 12-12:30 averaged 40,000. The debut edition of “The Stream” on Tuesday averaged 38,000 viewers, below Nielsen’s accuracy threshold, while the debut of “America Tonight” averaged 34,000 viewers.

The launch hour, which was Tuesday afternoon at 3 PM, and featured a preview of what was to come on the channel, averaged 22,000 viewers, below Nielsen’s minimum accuracy threshold. In other words, Nielsen says it cannot accurately count how many people watched it, and the number it gives is essentially a rough guess. This is also called “scratching.”

We do not have the adults 25-54 numbers, but given the total viewer numbers, one can surmise that they scratched.

Al Jazeera America, which bills itself as a neutral news station, is funded and operated by the Qatari government, which has used the Arabic version of Al Jazeera to back the Muslim Brotherhood and other violent Islamist groups. Its first guest was conspiracy theorist Stephen Walt, the notorious coauthor of The Israel Lobby, which accused U.S. Jews and others of perniciously manipulating American foreign policy.

Republican Assemblyman and Iraq war veteran Kieran Michael Lalor wrote to the heads of major U.S. cable companies on Monday to demand that they drop Al Jazeera America.