Fox News Channel has consistently led the ratings battle among cable news outlets, but executives this week have learned that its audience should not be taken for granted.
After unceremoniously ousting Tucker Carlson, arguably the network’s most popular personality, his vacated time slot has seen a precipitous decline in viewership.
On Monday, the first day without Carlson anchoring the 8 p.m. Eastern Time slot, fill-in host Brian Kilmeade retained a respectable 2.59 million viewers — of course, it is possible that some of those viewers were tuning in to see how Fox News would handle the staff shake-up announced earlier in the day.
The Monday numbers were only slightly lower than Carlson received during his final show on April 21 but nearly a half-million off of the show’s recent high two days before that. It quickly became clear that much of the once-loyal audience would not be sticking around without Carlson.
Tuesday’s audience shrunk to about 1.7 million viewers and by Wednesday it was down to a paltry 1.33 million — about half the size of the typical audience of “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
It remains to be seen whether the losses will be largely confined to the 8 p.m. time slot, but many social media fans have advocated for a boycott of Fox News in the days since the news of Carlson’s exit broke.
Meanwhile, the ratings for right-wing rival Newsmax have soared over the same period.
At about the same time that he would have been going on air if he were still with the network, Carlson posted a brief social media video to his followers on Wednesday. As of this writing, the post has racked up nearly 75 million views and the video has been seen about 22 million times.
Fans, including U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), saw the reception to his post-Fox video as evidence that he will ultimately land on his feet with an audience eager to follow him to his new platform.
This video has gotten over 15 million views in 14 hours.@TuckerCarlson’s star is only going to shine brighter and stronger than ever.
We love you, Tucker! https://t.co/JOX1fYG3G0
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) April 27, 2023
Carlson himself seemed to hint at plans for a future project in the video. After lamenting the media’s collective lack of interest in debating serious issues, he left viewers with a promise: “See you soon.”