Tucker Laughs While the Bloodbath Continues at Fox News

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Tucker Carlson seems to be enjoying his time away from his now-defunct Fox News show, while the network’s primetime lineup continues its descent into ratings nothingness.


Last week I reported that “young people have abandoned Fox News in primetime” following Tucker’s abrupt removal from his popular 8 p.m. weeknight talk show. “Young people” in this context refers to the 25-54 year-old demographic prized by advertisers, AKA “the demo.”

ASIDE: I’ll pause here for a moment while I ponder the fact that this time next year I’ll no longer be in the demo. Continue to prize me, advertisers, prize me!

The last week of April as a whole was bad for Fox, particularly when measured against woke rival MSNBC. But I did have to admit that Fox’s Friday night ratings collapse was partly due to the NFL draft being held that night, drawing red-blooded American viewers away from their usual nighttime news shows. But another week has gone by, and now we can compare a more typical Friday night, May 5, without Carlson, to what came before.

I won’t lie to you: It’s a bloodbath.

Carlson had 270,000 viewers in the demo on his last night at Fox News — Friday, April 21 — and the top-rated cable news show. The next Friday night Fox was airing its temporary Tucker replacement program, the dashingly named “Fox News Tonight.” It had just 110,000 demo viewers and had dropped to 16th place for the week.

Keep in mind, though, that April 28 was the night of the NFL draft, so you would expect that the next Friday would have seen some improvement. You’d be wrong. That Friday, “Fox News Tonight” drew in a scant 90,000 demo viewers. Following a 60% drop-off in the first week without Carlson, Fox’s once-coveted 8 p.m. timeslot somehow managed to shed yet another 20,000 viewers, or 19%.


At a mere 90,000 viewers, you have to wonder how much of the “Fox News Tonight” audience is just people who have the TV news on all the time while they’re doing other stuff.

But wait, it gets worse.

Mr. Anti-Charisma himself, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, drew 145,000 demo viewers opposite Tuckerless News Tonight. The last time Hayes managed to pull in an audience 60% bigger than anything on Fox News was approximately never ago. That dead network walking, CNN, even beat out Fox at 8 p.m. with the little-watched “Anderson Cooper 360” and its audience of people trapped in places that still show CNN.

During his final week on his old show, Carlson drew a total of 2.65 million viewers. “Fox News Tonight” garnered just 1.28 million last week. I’m no mathematician, but I know that 1.28 is a little less than half of 2.65.


As I noted last week, the ratings crater that firing Carlson left in the 8 p.m. slot is so deep that it’s dragged in Sean Hannity at 9 p.m. (down more than 20%) and Laura Ingraham at 10 p.m. (down 23%).

I have to believe that Fox has nowhere to go but up once they find a suitable replacement for Carlson and ditch the uninspired “Fox News Tonight” program. But I also have to wonder how far up they can actually go, even assuming they find someone with even half of Carlson’s appeal.

The reason for that is something I brought up last week:


Fox News hasn’t been the star, so to speak, with its conservative viewers since the network called Arizona early on Election Night in 2020. They threw away their brand that night and have since relied on genuinely conservative personalities like Tucker to maintain primetime dominance.

As the only thing even resembling a conservative news outlet, Fox isn’t going anywhere. But the bloom is certainly off their rose, and I can’t think of a single conservative with enough celebrity appeal who can bring it back, even in that cushy 8 p.m. timeslot.

Meanwhile, Tucker seems to be having a blast, saying whatever he wants without some faux-conservative network honcho ordering him to reel it in, to tone it down.

It’s nice to get the last laugh, isn’t it?

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