In his first day airing on Fox Business Network (NWS), Don Imus did exactly what Roger Ailes hired him to do: attracted a lot of attention. The simulcast of Imus in the Morning earned an average rating of 0.3 and drew 177,000 total viewers, according to a source with knowledge of the Nielsen data. It was one of the most-watched programs in FBN's two-year history, and it marked a 1,500 percent improvement over the average rating of Money for Breakfast, the show that previously filled the 6 a.m.-to-9 a.m. time slot.
The viewers Imus attracted skewed somewhat older than the 25-to-54 crowd advertisers generally prefer. The bulk of the audience, 73,000 viewers, were between 35 and 65 years old. The source had no information on how much of the audience stuck around to watch Fox Business after Imus in the Morning ended. A network spokeswoman declined to confirm or deny the numbers cited above, noting that FBN is not publicly rated.
Imus also beat its primary rival, CNBC's (GE) Squawk Box, by 17 percent. Squawk Box averaged 151,000 during the same time period.
Imus wasn't the only big-name arrival at Fox this week. John Stossel, previously of ABC's 20/20, started his new job as a host on Fox Business and Fox News a few days ago. Apparently, the speculation about bad blood prompting his departure from ABC was on the money: In his first blog post on foxbusiness.com, the libertarian newsman complained that ABC (DIS) cut off his blog without notifying him first. "So sorry I never got to say goodbye," he wrote.
The title of Stossel's post: "Free at last!"
Imus debut is a ratings hit for Fox Business