Fox News desperately needs new blood

If the Drudge Report leak (see Peter Barry Chowka’s coverage of it here) about the new lineup at Fox News is correct, the network is stumbling very badly. Sticking with its existing talent (moving Hannity to Tucker’s old time slot) will not appease viewers angry over Tucker’s firing. The former viewers have made it clear that Hannity will not win them back.

Megyn Kelly made this point and more on her popular podcast. Transcript via Grabien:

Kelly: “Breaking news. Drudge Report is reporting right now that they have decided on what to do about their hemorrhaging 8:00 PM hour formerly occupied by Tucker Carlson. That they will be moving Sean Hannity, currently at 9:00, into the 8 o’clock slot, and that they will then keep Jesse Waters in the prime time, which I believe means he’ll move to either 9:00 or 10:00, as opposed to staying at 7:00, and that Greg Gutfeld will also head to prime time. Greg Gutfeld is now in 11:00, it’s not really considered prime, prime is really 8:00, 9:00 and 10:00, so presumably they’re talking about moving him. If that’s true, one wonders what’s happening to Laura Ingraham, who’s currently at 10:00. They reached out to Fox, the folks at ‘Mediaite,’ and they said that, ‘No decisions been made on a new prime time lineup, and there are multiple scenarios under consideration.’ But I can tell you having worked there that Drudge always has the leaks on the line of changes there. He certainly had the one when I moved to prime time long before anybody else did, and he’s got impeccable sources inside the building. So I’d be surprised if he were wrong. They need to do something. I will submit for the record, this isn’t it. This is not it. They need a voice like Tucker’s, and even that’s probably not going to do it because the audience is very angry and they miss Tucker. But Hannity is not the answer at 8:00. He’s not the answer at 8:00. He hasn’t been the answer at 9:00 lately, since Tucker left. We’ve been following the ratings, they’re hemorrhaging at 8:00 and 9:00, where currently Sean is at right now. And just by way of numbers in that we now have it up to four weeks, the four weeks prior to Tucker’s departure, he was averaging a 3.3 million in the overall, now it’s less than half, they’re averaging 1.5 million, so less than half than what Tucker got. He was averaging a 429,000 in the demo, 25- to 54-year-olds, they’re now pulling in 152,000 in that time slot. And Hannity is not much better, he’s at 158,000 in the demo, down about half from 308,000. And his overall is down significantly, too. All double-digit falls. So, you know, the audience will have the last say on whether these are the solutions, but right now they’re still very, very angry at Fox News and Fox hasn’t done much to assuage their concerns or make them feel better about firing their top star who remains under contract, but silenced. That is, of course, Tucker Carlson. So more on that as we get it.” [emphasis added]

I am one of those angry viewers, and the only thing that would intrigue me enough to check out their lineup at 8 PM Eastern is someone capable of both surprising me with new ideas and amusing me. Greg Gutfeld has that dual capacity, and that is why his star has soared in the late-night competition. But his is also mostly a comedy show, whose lighter approach is better at late night, rather than 8 PM, which is the showcase as it leads viewers into the entire prime time lineup. Having established ratings leadership in the late night comedy/entertainment territory, Fox News would be crazy to give that up by moving Gutfeld to 8 PM.

They need someone new, someone who has the ability to provoke thought and also amuse. There are probably number of people who could do that, but one example that comes to mind is Matt Walsh. I was vastly amused by his recent deadpan interview with the Republican councilman who announced that he is a trans woman.

Of course, I have no idea if Matt Walsh is contractually free to move to Fox News, or even if he is interested. One of the great revolutions underway now is the rise of streaming and social media video content, which can be even more lucrative than cable/satellite distribution.

There is a lot of conservative talent out there. If Fox News wants to win back the missing half of its audience, it will need to look a little harder than simply reviewing its current stable of talent.

Angry though I am at the top brass at Fox that took Tucker off the air and apparently is trying to silence him for the duration of his contract, the fact is that conservatives need a dominant cable news outlet of our own. The effort that Media Matters and other Soros-funded groups put into destroying Fox News is ample evidence of its importance to our national politics. I love that Newsmax and OANN are getting more exposure, but the last thing I want to see is a diminished and crippled Fox News.


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