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Unsurprisingly, Fox News ratings suffered Monday night without the channel’s most watched host.
After the surprise of Fox News and Tucker Carlson “agree[ing] to part ways” on Monday, the network’s 8 p.m. hour had a significantly smaller audience Monday night. The debut of Fox News Tonight, hosted by Brian Kilmeade (the first in a series of rotating hosts), pulled in just under 2.6 million viewers — about 21 percent below the average for Tucker Carlson Tonight (3.3 million viewers) over the past eight Mondays.
Fox News Tonight also took a hit in the key news demographic of adults 25-54: Its 0.24 rating was 37 percent lower than the 0.38 Carlson averaged over the prior eight Monday shows.
Those figures were still more than enough to lead the 8 p.m. hour on cable news by a sizable margin. A Joe Scarborough Presents special on MSNBC came in at 1.51 million viewers, while Anderson Cooper 360 drew 728,000 people to CNN.
On the plus side for Fox News, its 9 p.m. show, Hannity, didn’t suffer any with the smaller lead-in. It drew 2.53 million viewers, on par with its Monday average (2.59 million) over the past two months — though it trailed MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show (2.73 million). The Ingraham Angle (1.92 million) was a bit below its recent Monday average of 2.04 million at 10 p.m., but only by about 6 percent.
On the other hand, Newsmax — which was openly making a play for Fox News viewers in the wake of Carlson’s exit Monday — saw its audience jump in primetime. Eric Bolling the Balance (531,000 viewers) at 8 p.m. and Greg Kelly Reports (540,000) at 9 p.m. both had more than triple their average audience from the first quarter of the year (145,000 for Bolling and 141,000 for Kelly). It’s also worth noting that Kelly interviewed former president Donald Trump on his show Monday, which also may have helped boost the audience.
Fox News shocked the media world Monday with the ouster of Carlson, who had presided over the top primetime show in cable news for several years. Carlson’s show regularly drew better than 3 million viewers nightly, often ranking as the most watched primetime show on cable. It averaged about 3.25 million viewers per night over the first four months of this year.
Tucker Carlson Tonight also dominated the 8 p.m. hour in cable news. The 3.25 million viewers it averaged in the first three months of 2023 is leagues ahead of rivals All In With Chris Hayes on MSNBC (1.33 million) and Anderson Cooper 360 (703,000). Among all of cable news, only another Fox News show, The Five, has rivaled it in recent months; the two shows have traded off the lead on a given day over the past several months.
Whether Monday’s numbers are a blip or the start of a trend will, of course, take a while to bear out. But the surprise of Carlson’s exit definitely had an effect on night one of the new era.
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