Saturday, May 18, 2024

Tucker Carlson Replacement Show Sinks 50% in Ratings, Insiders Say Host Refused to Clear Guests with PR Department


On Tuesday night, Tucker Carlson’s 8pm show was replaced by “Fox News Tonight.” Only 1.7 million people tuned in, a 40 to 50% drop from Carlson’s nightly numbers. The sudden drop in viewers affected Sean Hannity at 9pm, whose numbers fell to just over 2 million. Hannity had been averaging around 3 million or just under before Carlson’s dismissal on Monday morning.

This is what Fox feared: they lied to their audience to keep the ratings up. They knew what would happen if they told the truth: the election wasn’t stolen, there was no voter fraud. And now their worst nightmares are unfolding fast.

You know, I worked at Fox News for a decade, from 1999 to 2009. Controversial guests for the evening shows were cleared by the PR department, which always fought with the producers. Public relations chief Irena Briganti was the least popular person in the building at 1211 Ave of the Americas. Personally, I never crossed swords with her. But the stories I heard were often fueled with anger and frustration.

Now I’m told Tucker Carlson’s ouster had a lot to do with lack of communication between his office and Briganti’s. A source says: “He never cleared guests, and bypassed everyone.” More often than not, they say, the PR department had no idea who Carlson was having on his show until the last minute or not at all. This included conspiracy theorists, racists, anti Semites, people so radically dangerous that even the other Fox hosts wouldn’t have them on.

“We used to ask PR, did you know this person was going to be on last night? And they’d just say Tucker does what he wants,” says a source.

The Wall Street Journal — also owned by Rupert Murdoch and spoon fed what the owner wants us to know — reported that Carlson had called a top woman exec at Fox News “the c word.” This was found in Carlson’s redacted testimony in the Dominion case. The woman — there aren’t many to choose from — would either be Briganti or Suzanne Scott., who runs Fox News after having been a secretary in the executive suite. There’s a lot of loathing for both women, although Carlson’s epithet is irredeemable and inexcusable.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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