Players: Jonathan Wald, Executive Producer of CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight; Lauren Skowronski, director of media relations at MSNBC. Yesterday's publication of cable news' April ratings revealed that MSNBC "is up double digits in total day viewing" and sits at the #2 spot among other primetime cable news channels. CNN saw an increase as well, though it trailed behind MSNBC, and its Larry King-replacement program Piers Morgan Tonight had its "worst month since launch," according to Media Bistro.
Opening Serve: MSNBC's Lauren Skowronski took to Twitter to brag about the achievement, writing, "April showers rain on @piersmorgan. @PiersTonight has worst ratings month since launch. More on #msnbc's strong April rating coming soon."
Return Volley: Piers Morgan Tonight's Executive Producer Jonathan Wald did not take kindly to Skowronski's shout out. He responded several times with: "Stay classy, @Laurensko" and "Oh @Laurensko In April, Piers Morgan Tonight increased more than the other cable news networks at 9 pm in demo vs. a year-ago up +20%." Finally, after Media Bistro's Alex Weprin tried to appeal to both sides, Wald declared: "People in glass cable networks shouldn't throw tweets."
What They Say the Fight's About: Wald felt the need to shoot back at Skowronski's damning tweet, clarifying--mostly for followers and potential P.M. viewers--that April hasn't been a total failure for the show.
What the Fight's Really About: It's easy to highlight the best or worst parts of these ratings reports and ignore the details. While MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, for example, has topped CNN's 9pm programming, "Maddow is down -3 percent in total viewers." And, it's true that Piers Morgan Tonight's ratings this month were its worst so far, but in the demo it gained over 20 percent viewership and beat Larry King Live.
Who's Winning Now: Like Media Bistro's Weprin said: "Both are correct! Everyone wins/loses!" True, but neither side looks particularly good insulting the other via Twitter.