Former Fox News host Chris Wallace’s CNN debut went over like a lead balloon. Wallace’s new show, “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace?” flopped, attracting fewer than 44,000 viewers in the key 25-54 age demographic — 64% lower than CNN’s average for the 7:00 PM ET time slot.
Ratings figures by Nielsen Media Research demonstrate a crushing opening for Wallace. In addition to missing the key demographic, Niesel reports that overall viewership was down 29 percent compared to the average at 401,000 viewers.
Former congressman Trey Gowdy’s popular Fox program, “Sunday Night in America with Trey Gowdy,” debut numbers crushed Wallace’s. Premiering in June 2021, Gowdy’s show earned 1.3 million views with 78,000 in the key 25-54 demographic — almost double Wallace’s debut.
The Washington Examiner reports that Fox News was the “most-watched cable news network” over the weekend with 1.2 million viewers.
Wallace ended his 18-year career at Fox News in December 2021, saying he was ready for a “new adventure” that expanded his breadth of reporting and allowed him to “go beyond politics.”
After his departure, Wallace said he is “fine with opinion,” yet cited discomfort with the network’s coverage of the capitol riots as his main motivation for leaving. Wallace said, “when people start to question the truth — Who won the 2020 election? Was Jan. 6 an insurrection? — I found that unsustainable.”
Wallace joined CNN in January 2022, saying at the time that he was “thrilled” to join the network. Wallace’s show was originally meant to be distributed on CNN’s streaming platform CNN+; however, the service failed shortly after launch.
The “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace” premier featured an interview with former Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. Breyer, reflecting on the recent Dobbs v. Jackson case that overturned Roe v. Wade, said he was not happy with the outcome.
The former justice told Wallace that he did everything he could to persuade people, concluding that if legal opinions or decisions are written “too rigidly” then “the world will come around and bite you in the back.”