OLD Media Moves

Cramer's popularity due to shtick, not stock picks

April 9, 2007

Posted by Chris Roush

Lia Miller writes in the New York Times that viewers of CNBC’s Mad Money” show featuring Jim Cramer are more attracted to it to watch his antics than to get good investment advice — and for good reason.

A negative stock pick last week by Cramer had investors howling.

Miller wrote, “Even so, some people were upset that one of his recommendations on March 28 — to sell shares of Dendreon, a biotechnology company in Seattle — turned out to be dead wrong. The next day, Dendreon’s prostate cancer vaccine, Provenge, was endorsed by a Food and Drug Administration panel, putting it a step away from approval. Dendreon’s stock price has since more than tripled, closing last week at $18.05.

“On the air, Mr. Cramer joked about the bad advice, saying he ‘did not expect’ good news from Dendreon and had gotten Provenge mixed up with Provasic. The latter is a fictional drug from a 1993 movie, ‘The Fugitive,’ in which Dr. Richard Kimble, played by Harrison Ford, tries to expose a fictitious pharmaceutical company, Devlin-MacGregor.

“Mr. Cramer said he was ‘surprised and thrilled that Provenge, which I was confusing with Provasic, could be approved — remember, staff, that’s what Dr. Richard didn’t like.’

“Some bloggers thought he was being dense. In investment chat rooms, people called Mr. Cramer ‘a fool’ or worse, and demanded that CNBC cancel his show.

“Nonsense, Mr. Cramer said in a telephone interview last week. He said he did not really confuse the two drugs and was obviously joking by making a reference to one of his favorite movies, something he often does on the show.

Read more here.

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