Fox CEO Reveals How Tucker Carlson Ouster Will Change Primetime Strategy

Fox Corporation CEO Lachlan Murdoch said on Tuesday that Fox News will not amend the channel’s primetime strategy after the ouster of popular anchor Tucker Carlson.

Fox News unexpectedly announced last month that the network would “part ways” with Carlson, who had hosted “Tucker Carlson Tonight” for the past seven years and emerged as an influential voice in the conservative movement. Lachlan Murdoch, the son of media magnate and Fox Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch, was pressed in a Tuesday earnings call about the implications of the departure for the strategy of Fox News.

“As regards to our programming strategy in primetime, there’s no change to our programming strategy at Fox News,” he responded. “It’s obviously a successful strategy. And as always, we are adjusting our programming and our lineup, and that’s what we continue to do. We are pleased with the strength of the advertising demand throughout our schedule, but particularly primetime.”

Fox News dominated primetime ratings in the first three months of 2023, easily surpassing networks such as CNN and MSNBC with more than 2 million viewers each evening, during which “Tucker Carlson Tonight” was consistently the top primetime show, especially among the 25-54 age demographic coveted by advertisers. In the weeks after the Carlson ouster, on the other hand, Fox News averaged 1.5 million viewers at primetime and maintained none of the ten most popular cable programs. The five final editions of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” had accounted for each of the five largest primetime audiences at Fox News in the week before the ouster.

Murdoch and other Fox Corporation executives meanwhile announced a quarterly loss of $50 million, a sharp decline from the $290 million in the same fiscal period last year. The losses, which preceded the departure of Carlson, were attributable to a nearly $800 million settlement paid to Dominion Voting Systems, which had contended that Fox News hosts knowingly spread false claims about the company’s equipment following the 2020 election. Fox News guests, and allegedly some hosts, claimed Dominion had offered bribes and switched votes.

“We made the business decision to resolve this dispute and avoid the acrimony of a divisive trial and a multiyear appeal process,” Murdoch asserted in the earnings call. “Our decision is clearly in the best interest of the company and its shareholders. The settlement in no way alters Fox’s commitment to the highest journalistic standards across our company or our passion for unabashedly reporting the news of the day.”

Carlson said in a video statement published days after his dismissal from Fox News that he would direct his future efforts toward addressing topics not usually discussed on television news. He announced on Tuesday afternoon that he would launch a new show hosted on Twitter, a development which came days after he reportedly met with Twitter CEO Elon Musk.


“At the most basic level, the news you consume is a lie. A lie of the stealthiest and most insidious kind: facts have been withheld on purpose, along with proportion and perspective. You are being manipulated,” he said in a video statement about his new program. “Twitter has long served as the place where our national conversation incubates and develops. Twitter is not a partisan site. Everybody is allowed here. And we think that’s a good thing.”

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