Recently, FOX Business Network star Lou Dobbs proved he was back on top after his 7 p.m. show topped rival Larry Kudlow on CNBC in the same time slot.
But on the heels of tough competition from upstart FOX Business, which has not yet celebrated its fifth birthday, CNBC decided to go an interesting route: It aired hockey instead.
Last Thursday through this past Monday night, they’ve dumped out of The Kudlow Report a half-hour early to air NHL playoff games.
Obviously, NBC has a plush contract with the NHL worth $2 billion over 10 years, and that includes the rights to air programming on affiliated networks, including NBC sports and the playoffs. However, it’s a bit suspect that the financial news network should be giving up airtime so soon after the recent gains by Dobbs.
Sure, the hockey has to go somewhere. But NBC Universal also owns The Weather Channel and Bravo — and we aren’t seeing the games on those channels. Is there really nothing important going on in the markets or the nation’s economy right now amid high gasoline prices, European debt trouble and a presidential election?
Call me a cynic, but it’s more realistic that CNBC is simply conceding this round of the battle with Dobbs, and hoping to regroup.
I’ll say this, though — so far, the NHL move seems to be working, as Kudlow was back on top in both total viewers and the coveted advertising demo this week. But the NHL playoffs can’t last forever.