Fox News executives may have thought that defacto suspending Tucker Carlson and canceling his show – “mutually parting ways” with the host, as they described it – would have little impact on the network overall.
The results show that the decision to pull Carlson’s show has been devastating.
Where Things Stand: Tucker Carlson vs. Fox
Tucker Carlson told 19FortyFive earlier today that he remains employed by Fox. However, one could surmise he seems to be in what amounts to a sort of legal limbo with his contract and formal exit.
Published rumors suggest that the executives disliked what they saw as Carlson’s alleged belief that he was bigger than Fox. The numbers are showing that Carlson might have been bigger than Fox and that replacing him the way it replaced Bill O’Reilly in 2016 with near equivalent talent might not be happening.
Megyn Kelly noted on her Sirius XM program in discussion with conservative talk show host Buck Sexton that the ratings have been devastating.
“On Monday, [Brian] Kilmeade got 2.6 million in the overall. Tucker had been getting 3.2 [million] the previous Monday. Kilmeade got 294,000 in he key audience demo of 25-54 year olds. The previous Monday, Tucker had 445 [thousand]. It gets worse, Kilmeade got 1.7 million views. Tucker’s previous Tuesday, 3.2 [million]. On Tuesday, in the key demo at 8 p.m., they got 149,000 … The previous week, Tucker had almost 500,000. He had 481 [thousand],” Kelly said. “We’re talking about a 330,000 loss in a key demo. That’s the one they used to run advertising dollars. That’s the one they care about.
Kelly continued: “He lost in the demo to both CNN and MSNBC. That doesn’t happen at 8 p.m. on the Fox News Channel. Trust me, I was there for almost 20 years.”
On Wednesday, Fox recived 1.33 million viewers at 8 p.m., which was below the viewership for its 7 p.m. and 6 p.m. shows and was 1/3 of the 3 million viewers that Carlson. When it came to the network’s key advertising demo, it got 124,000 on Wednesday compared to almost 400,000 who had watched Carlson the week before.
“They are now losing to Anderson Cooper and Chris Hayes. It just doesn’t happen unless somebody has live video of an earthquake in process or a car chase in process. That’s the only way other channels beat Fox,” Kelly said. “Fox News is in a downward spiral that they are going to have to claw to get themselves out of.”
Kelly noted that when she left in 2016 that her audience in the key 25-45 demo was 641,000.
Some of those viewers are switching to rival Newsmax TV, which has experienced an increase in in ratings since Carlson’s cancellation. Newsmax sees opportunities in Fox’s misstep.
“For a while, Fox News has been moving to become establishment media, and Tucker Carlson’s removal is a big milestone in that effort,” Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy told Newsweek. “Millions of viewers who liked the old Fox News have made the switch to Newsmax, and this will only fuel that trend.”
Fox has had a viewership four times that of Newsmax.
The decision to cancel Carlson’s show will be costly for Fox, indeed.