Fox News a big ratings loser after Tucker ouster

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The Nielsen ratings are in and Fox News is a big loser after jettisoning its top-rated, prime-time host Tucker Carlson, even losing to CNN in the key demographic group of viewers aged 25-54.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper beat out Carlson’s temporary replacement, Brian Kilmeade, in the key 8:00 p.m. Eastern time slot once dominated by Tucker.

“‘Fox News Tonight’ managed to top cable news competitors CNN and MSNBC in total audience. But the channel, typically a ratings powerhouse, suffered a rare loss in the hour among the advertiser-coveted demographic of viewers age 25 to 54,” the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

Popular online broadcast Tim Pool (@timcast on Twitter) called the new ratings “embarrassing” for Fox.

And just like it did after Fox News called the state of Arizona for Joe Biden Election Night in 2020, Newsmax is benefiting greatly from conservatives’ outrage over Rupert Murdoch’s network’s actions.

Kilmeade of the Fox morning show “Fox & Friends” was put in the unenviable position of being the first temporary host in Carlson’s old 8:00 p.m. Eastern time slot. He pulled in less than half of the star anchor’s typical audience size Monday.

The L.A. Times, citing Nielsen ratings figures, said the temporary program “Fox News Tonight” with Kilmeade at the helm earned 1.7 million viewers. “The number is 47% below what ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ delivered in the 8 p.m. Eastern hour a week earlier on April 16,” the Times reported, noting that Carlson averaged 3.2 million nightly viewers in the first quarter of 2023.

And two other big Fox shows that followed Carlson every night suffered with his sudden and yet unexplained departure, which was widely blasted by conservatives on social media, with many snarkily comparing Fox’s marketing acumen to Bud Light’s.

“Without the tentpole that Carlson’s program provided, the ratings for other Fox News shows were down as well. ‘Hannity’ averaged 2 million viewers, a decline of 20% from the previous week. ‘The Ingraham Angle’ scored 1.56 million, down 12%,” reported the Times.

Newsmax, a cable channel that also streams its live programming for free (unlike Fox), was giddy as it registered a huge post-Tucker-at-Fox ratings boost. Seemingly on a perpetual quest to catch Fox as the leading right-leaning cable network, Newsmax tweeted out Wednesday: “Skyrocketing Ratings! [Up] 187% total audience, [Up] 216% total women, [Up] 195% adults 35-64.”

The Times reported that Eric Bolling’s Newsmax show, “Eric Bolling The Balance,” experienced a fivefold increase in its audience, according to Nielsen, pulling in 562,000 viewers in the same time slot as Carlson’s at Fox News. Bolling, like several of Newsmax’s on-air hosts and reporters – e.g., Greta Van Susteren, Rob Schmitt, Greg Kelly, James Rosen and Heather Childers – once worked at Fox News.

“The rest of the Newsmax lineup saw a lift as well, with the audiences for ‘Rob Schmitt Tonight,’ ‘Prime News’ and ‘Greg Kelly Reports’ all doubling in size from a week ago,” the Times reported.

But Newsmax executives’ celebration might be premature: “Many viewers who sampled Newsmax after the 2020 election eventually returned to Fox News,” it reported.

Meanwhile, Carlson’s teaser video, tweeted out Wednesday night at 8:00 p.m., exactly when his old show began each night on Fox, garnered a whopping 64 million views by press time, in less than 24 hours. The words “Good Evening,” which is how he began each Fox program, accompanied the tweeted video:

The fantastic success of what is essentially Carlson’s first “broadcast” not tethered to a cable network has many observers – especially younger conservative “influencers” like Benny Johnson who have built up massive audiences on their own – predicting the demise of cable news.

Johnson, who has 1.4 million followers, tweeted Wednesday morning, when Carlson’s video had already amassed 42 million views: “Tucker’s Twitter Video now has 42M views. His average viewership on Fox News was 3M. That means Tucker’s first crack at making his own content outside corporate censorship delivered 15x the viewers. Tucker is an animal. This is the end of cable news as we know it.”

Along those lines, MAGA attorney-pundit and Townhall columnist Kurt Schlichter opined Thursday that with his curious ouster by Fox, “Tucker … might end up being the transitional figure in the movement of conservatives away from network brand identification to individual brand identification.”

“Tucker Carlson is neither down nor out; he is going to come back bigger and badder than ever,” Schlichter writes, echoing countless conservatives who are rejoicing at the prospect of Carlson having the freedom to discuss anything he wants, bereft of Fox’s political pressures.

Moreover, Schlichter writes, many Republicans will be more loyal to Tucker than they are to Fox:

Tucker, the network’s flagship opinion host, is gone, as are a lot of people will go with him wherever he lands. They did not consider themselves “Fox viewers” – they considered themselves “Tucker viewers.” The GOP will face a similar dilemma as the 2024 race heats up – there are a lot of people who consider themselves “Trump voters” and not “Republican voters.” Tucker has a lot of love; we will see how much love Fox has.

The regime media and the leftists do not understand that a lot of conservatives have been annoyed with Fox for quite a while – these cons think Fox is soft. But that misunderstands what Fox is, or at least what it strives to be. Fox, for its part, has to both be the network that welcomes the 50% of Americans the regime media rejects and also maintain old school journalistic standards. The problem is that the Fox audience has little patience for old school journalistic standards in an age where the rest of the media slanders it as a bunch of racist, sexist monsters who think that only women can get pregnant. The audience wants a cheerleader network, and not just in the prime-time opinion shows, and that creates a significant tension regarding Fox’s identity.

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