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Chris Hayes Recognizes the Obvious

Chris Hayes / AP
• August 26, 2013 1:37 pm

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MSNBC liberal pundit Chris Hayes acknowledged to the New Yorker what's been clear since the inception of All In with Chris Hayes in April: his ratings are lousy.

"Obviously, the numbers are bad right now," he said, according to the Huffington Post.

The magazine ran a lengthy feature by Kelefa Sanneh on MSNBC's current place in the cable news landscape. While it focused on everything from the history of the network to Rachel Maddow's displeasure with a show of hers, the biggest thread running through the piece was Hayes, and what his struggling 8 PM show says about MSNBC's evolution.

Hayes's erudite approach has not been able to match the ratings of his more blustery predecessor, Ed Schultz. MSNBC has now moved Schultz back from weekends to the 5 PM slot, and put Chris Matthews' live hour at 7 PM, in what appears to be an attempt to provide Hayes with a more solid lead-in.

MSNBC president Phil Griffin told Sanneh he was being patient. "I'm building for the future," he said. "We're making a bet that this is what our audience wants." Sanneh also revealed that the two look at focus group data every week.

Hayes said he would be competitive about winning his time slot, which places him against Fox News ratings king Bill O'Reilly and CNN's Anderson Cooper, but he has been anything but. MSNBC has been in a slump overall during a news-heavy summer.

Last week, Hayes finished behind O'Reilly and Cooper Monday through Thursday (Friday's ratings have not yet been published), and he bottomed out with just 440,000 viewers Thursday to take fourth place, behind HLN's Nancy Grace (449,000), Cooper (640,000) and O'Reilly (2,525,000).

Published under: Chris Hayes, Media, MSNBC