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First MSNBC, now CNBC in ratings panic

Reports suggest that Harry Smith will take over the timeslot of Larry Kudlow who's respected show is losing viewers. AP Photo.

The post-2012 elections ratings hit suffered by MSNBC now seems to be spreading to sister CNBC's stars, reportedly prompting a mad dash for new personalities to revive the business cable network.

Reports like one in the New York Post suggests that Larry Kudlow, the 7 p.m. anchor who is popular and respected in Washington circles, could be replaced soon by former CBS anchor Harry Smith. Other reports, like one on Valuewalk.com, suggest that the business cable wants to use the hour for a lively talk show like Fox's The Five.

Nielsen Media Research numbers show that evening CNBC shows like The Kudlow Report and Mad Money are in a tailspin. Kudlow is down roughly 60 percent in its key 25- to 54-year-old target audience.

Some industry observers point peg the decline's beginning of Kudlow's decline to 2011 when Fox Business Network began airing Lou Dobbs Tonite. Dobbs has since beaten Kudlow several times in the grab for larger audiences. In May, Dobbs was the top watched Fox Business show.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.