Fairly consistently, CNN Spotlight and Unguarded with Rachel Nichols do poorly in the 10pET hour.
The numbers drop off quite steadily. In the month of September, the CNN’s 10pm hour came in fourth twice, third once, and second once. The drop off on Fridays starts in the 10pm hour, when CNN abandons live news and goes to the Spotlight and Unguarded; AC360 came in second each Friday in this month.
Which raises the question of what to do. Nischelle Turner has hosted many of CNN Spotlights (that are entertainment-based). Considering she’s leaving CNN and there has been no replacement announced, it leaves the future of that slot in the air. (To be fair, not all CNN Spotlights are entertainment stories; for example, Robyn Curnow hosted one about Oscar Pistorius and Randi Kaye hosted one about Jodi Arias).
One possible solution would be to have a thirty-minute CNN Tonight at 10. The program comes in strong at second, so having it go Monday to Friday is a good idea (as opposed to Monday-Wednesday or Thursday). It may prove for a stronger lead-in for Unguarded. And if Rachel actually did the show live (and had pieces from CNNI and HLN’s many sports correspondents), I think it would enhance it greatly. They can still showcase her taped interviews, but doing sports headlines — live — couldn’t hurt.