Gretchen Carlson's Fox News Show Pulling Record Ratings After Her Departure
Nothing like a scandal to boost interest. The ousted anchor, suing network chief Roger Ailes for sexual harassment, sees her old hour swell with substitutes.
If there's a silver lining for Fox News during the very public war of words between ousted anchor Gretchen Carlson and network chief Roger Ailes, whom she's accused of sexual harassment in a lawsuit, it's a renewed interest in her old time slot.
Fox News Channel's 2 p.m. hour, The Real Story (née The Real Story With Gretchen Carlson), just saw its most-watched and highest-rated week ever. Nielsen Media's fresh data for the week of July 4 have the show averaging 1.7 million viewers and 292,000 adults 25-54. That spike, which helped the network win the hour in cable news, likely had something to do with viewer interest in the rotating chair of pinch hitters to fill in for Carlson. It was early Wednesday, July 6, that news broke of Carlson suing Ailes for sexual harassment just days after the expiration of her last contract with the network.
The record is not a high for the 2 p.m. time slot — far from it — but it does stand as a best since Carslon first moved into the hour in September 2013. Now on the air without Carlson for two weeks, The Real Story is improved: 18 percent among total viewers and 20 percent in the key demo compared with the 2016 average when she was at the desk.
These recent numbers certainly lend some credence to Ailes' public assertion that Carlson was fired for pulling "disappointingly low ratings." Carlson's lawyer shot back that The Real Story was up for the year — but, as The Hollywood Reporter posted last week, ratings are overwhelmingly improved across the cable news landscape thanks to the presidential election. (FNC's Howard Kurtz laid into Carlson's ratings during Sunday's episode of MediaBuzz.)
However improved the ratings, the scandal around the lawsuit is not going anywhere. These good numbers come as more women come forward with allegations of sexual harassment and current FNC talent speak publicly on Ailes' behalf.