Fox News scrambling after viewer exodus following chaotic month

Fox News scrambling after viewer exodus following chaotic month
Image via Gage Skidmore.

Following a month in which Fox News agreed to pay Dominion Voting Systems $787.5 million to settle a defamation lawsuit only to days later fire the host of their most popular nighttime show, the conservative network is still dealing with the fallout as ratings have plunged.

According to a report from the Guardian, after a chaotic two weeks, Fox is trying to right the ship with the 2024 election looming and viewers having moved on to competitors like Newsmax.

Central to the network's problems, after the damage of the defamation payout is taken into account, is the hole left with the dismissal of Tucker Carlson, with his timeslot seeing an exodus of the nearly half of the three million viewers who tuned in each night he was on.

According to the Guardian's Adam Gabbatt, "It’s a challenge for Fox News, which in the past few months has also found itself embarrassed by court disclosures which showed that Carlson, among others, did not believe much of the election fraud invective that Fox News’s audience was gobbling up night after night," adding, "And with no ready-made replacement for Carlson – one viewer wrote on Twitter that they would 'rather watch grass grow' than [replacement host Brian] Kilmeade’s efforts – the channel faces a battle to win back viewers and maintain its supremacy among right-wing media."

NPR TV critic Eric Deggans, author of "Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation," suggested, "Short term, I’m sure it will be a challenge, not just because they’ve lost Tucker Carlson, but because there’ll be a backlash amongst his core fans, and the Maga-style Republicans who saw the way that Tucker Carlson was speaking to them, catering to them."

MIT media Professor Heather Hendershot said the network may see some relief by getting back viewers who were turned off by Carlson's over-the-top rhetoric as well as advertisers who stayed away.

“You can always find stars, and only a few people are genuinely unreplaceable. With most people you can find someone else and develop new talent,” she explained. "That might help in the short term, and help them potentially with their renewal negotiations with all the cable companies. And then as soon as they’ve got that dealt with, they can go right back to the Carlson line, but maybe via a different personality type, someone with a different entertainment persona.”

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