Fox News continues to face declining ratings in the wake of its ouster of beloved populist host Tucker Carlson, with even its more well-liked hosts feeling the heat as a result of the post-Tucker uproar.
Host Sean Hannity and his primetime show, for example, have faced a serious decline, particularly in the 25-54 advertising demographic, since Tucker was given the boot from Fox News. Yahoo News reported on that decline Hannity has faced, saying, “Fox fired Carlson, its most-watched on-air presence, last month following a steady string of controversies and dwindling participation in his primetime show by premium advertisers. Fox News’ rating performance declined around 50% in the key adults 25-54 audience demo in the immediate aftermath of Carlson’s final April 21 show.”
Despite the troubling ratings news, Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch said, while speaking Wednesday morning at MoffettNathanson’s Inaugural Technology, that he is confident in Fox News Channel’s future despite Tucker’s ouster, saying, “We’ve done it before, right? You know, Bill O’Reilly was a superstar. Megyn Kelly was a superstar. Glenn Beck was a superstar, and we’re able to move forward with programming decisions that ultimately result in long-term growth and profitability of the business.”
The difference between the situations that Lachlan noted and the Tucker situation, however, is that many people who would have just kept watching FNC despite being annoyed in the past can now turn to Newsmax for cable news or watch Tucker’s Twitter show when it premiers if they’d prefer to stick with Tucker. So, even if FNC survived in the past, this situation could be more problematic for it.
Lachlan was probably attempting to justify the decision because he was reportedly one of the key figures in Tucker’s ouster, removing him from FNC to make the company easier to sell if he and the other Murdoch kids decide to sell it.
Earlier this month, Hannity said he was “stunned” after learning that the network had parted ways with Carlson, saying, “It’s very hard. My phone has been blowing up. The hard part for me is I don’t have a clue … I have no idea. Was it Tucker’s decision? Was it Fox’s? Was it a mutual agreement that they had? I don’t know. I guess people think that because I’ve been there the longest I’d have some knowledge or understanding of what’s going on, but… I just don’t.”
In addition to having to try and put on a positive face in the wake of Tucker’s firing and claim that things are going well as ratings decline, FNC is also having to fight of rumors that it plans to fire host Laura Ingraham as well. “Reports based on various tweets by left-wing activists are wildly inaccurate – Laura Ingraham, the top-rated woman in cable news, is now and will continue to be a prominent host and integral part of the Fox News lineup,” Fox News said in a statement, via Mediaite.
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