Tucker Carlson's Fox News Advertisers Haven't Returned

Tucker Carlson Jan 9 2019 Show - H - 2019
Fox News

The host's show included 19 advertisements on Thursday night, down about half from before he said on Dec. 13 that immigration makes America "dirtier."

Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who has lost at least 26 corporate advertisers since he attracted widespread backlash for saying on his Dec. 13 primetime show that immigration makes America "dirtier," has not seen his sponsors return in the new year. On Thursday night, Carlson's show featured 19 ads, a low mark since the beginning of December.

In the month of January, Tucker Carlson Tonight has averaged 24 ads per episode (over seven shows), compared to an average of 36 ads in the seven shows leading up to his immigration monologue.

A Fox News spokesperson said in late December that "the channel usually has lighter ad during the holiday period between Christmas and the first few weeks of the New Year" and that "ad loads pick up towards the end of the month," though the post-holiday week of Jan. 7 has been Carlson's lowest to date (averaging 22 ads per show).

Carlson's show also lost a major advertiser this week when Red Lobster on Monday announced that it would stop advertising, reversing course from the company's earlier decision to continue sponsoring the show and to decline to comment publicly about his remarks. Asked about the company's change in strategy, a spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter, "We reserve the right to make changes to our purchases when the dialogue is no longer in line with our criteria."

Norwegian Cruise Line, which ran an ad on Monday night's show, told THR on Tuesday: "Our ads will no longer appear during that program."

While the executive in charge of advertising at Fox News has said that sponsors typically return to shows after the backlash abates, only one company — Ancestry.com — that pulled ads from Carlson's show has come back. The genealogy company advertised on Carlson's Jan. 3 show, but did not reply when asked if the spot was the result of a change in strategy and has not advertised on the show since then.

Progressive Insurance, which was one of Carlson's primary advertisers, ran a spot on his Wednesday night show. The ad was Progressive's first since Dec. 19, but the company never publicly pledged to stop advertising on the show and has ignored all requests for comment.

Mitsubishi, another one of Carlson's biggest corporate sponsors, advertised 12 times in the month of December but has not appeared on the show since Dec. 18, a few days after the controversy began. Jeremy Barnes, a company spokesperson, said that Mitsubishi cannot confirm a change in strategy but conveyed that the brand's marketing department "[adjusts] as needed to ensure our brand and product messages are communicated in the right way and to the right customers."

Carlson's show is down to only a handful of blue-chip advertisers, relying increasingly on direct marketing companies and filling lost spots with house advertisements and public service announcements (mostly for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which has not yet returned a request for comment).

The Fox News public relations department has not replied to a Friday request for comment on the show's latest advertiser departures, but the network has previously accused "agenda-driven intimidation efforts from the likes of MoveOn.org, Media Matters and Sleeping Giants" of censorship.