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In CBS/Time Warner Cable Dispute, CNN’s ‘New Day’ Could Come Out Ahead

With the Time Warner Cable/CBS dispute still not resolved, and no resolution in sight for now (although TWC has extended an olive brand of sorts), CBS programs remain off the air for viewers in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas, among other cities.

New York and Los Angeles are the two largest TV markets, and Dallas is fifth, so the drop is no laughing matter.

In a press release, CBS says that through Sunday its ratings were only down around -1% nationally, but three days is hardly definitive. The true ratings impact will become clear in the week (or weeks, if it drags on) ahead.

For “CBS This Morning,” which has seen strong ratings growth this year, the dispute threatens to stunt the progress the program has made. With millions of people in the top two markets unable to watch “CTM,” it is reasonable to assume that thousands of viewers will be experimenting with other morning shows, particularly if the dispute gets dragged out for an extended period of time.

No other morning show is better poised to try and capture those viewers than CNN’s “New Day.”

The “New Day” set bears an uncanny resemblance to “CTM,” and the mantra is more or less the same: less fluff, more news in the mornings. A CNN staffer tells TVNewser that the mood at their morning show was high today, with the hope that some CBS viewers that can’t watch “CTM” would check out CNN to see what the fuss is about.

That said, “CTM” is doing its best to try and keep the ratings high, most notably by bringing on Oprah Winfrey for a live interview this morning (NBC’s “Today” also aired an interview with Winfrey, conducted by NBC’s The Grio). CBS has benefited from strong ratings growth all Summer long, and August is usually a slow month for ratings anyway, so, as CBS notes, the financial impact on the network will likely be negligible.

That said, CBS News has improved its ratings fortunes dramatically over the last year or so, often led by word of mouth. Programs like “CTM” and the “CBS Evening News” cannot afford to lose thousands viewers, many of whom may be newly won over, in three of the largest TV markets in the country. At stake: viewers might get comfortable waking up with Chris, Kate and Michaela instead of Charlie, Gayle and Norah.

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