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Sean Hannity’s Ratings Plunge After Tucker Carlson’s Fox News Exit

Tucker Carlson’s exit from Fox News appears to be impacting more than just the timeslot that he hosted for years on the network.

Carlson’s finale a week ago drew 2.65 million viewers, according to Nielsen. The data shows that Brian Kilmeade’s substitute hosting gig for “Fox News Tonight” saw ratings of 2.59 million on Monday, 1.7 million on Tuesday, and 1.33 million on Wednesday, respectively. Last Wednesday, Carlson drew about 3 million viewers, Nielsen figures show.

But the 9 p.m. Fox News program hosted by Sean Hannity drew about 2.5 million on Monday, 2 million on Tuesday, and 1.7 million on Wednesday night, according to Nielsen. In comparison, Hannity drew about 2.6 million viewers the Wednesday a week before, the ratings show.

Laura Ingraham’s “The Ingraham Angle” drew 2.156 million on Wednesday, April 19. But this past Wednesday, two days after Carlson was confirmed gone, her show drew 1.55 million viewers.

Jesse Watters’ show also saw a decline. For Wednesday, it saw an audience of 1.558 million, but a week prior, it generated 2.1 million.

In response to the Nielsen ratings numbers, Fox News said in a statement to news outlets that Fox has been cable news’ most-watched network for 21 years, with its team “trusted more by viewers than any other news source.” When reached for comment, a Fox spokesperson also told The Epoch Times that “Fox News led cable news on Monday and Tuesday across total day and primetime with viewers and A25-54,” referring to the 25-54 age demographic coveted by advertisers.

“Gutfeld,” hosted by Greg Gutfeld, was the only Fox News primetime show that actually saw an increase. Last Wednesday, the program drew 1.8 million viewers, but this past Wednesday, it was watched by 2.02 million, according to the figures.

For March 2023, Hannity saw an average of 2.6 million viewers, according to Nielsen data. “Tucker Carlson Tonight” was No. 1 for that month with 3.3 million on average, Ingraham’s show nabbed 2 million viewers, and Gutfeld drew 1.9 million viewers.

Hannity’s Response

Hannity earlier this week indicated he had little knowledge of why Carlson left. For years, after his 8 p.m. show ended, Carlson would hand off to Hannity, also one of the highest-rated cable news personalities.

“It’s very hard,” Hannity said during his “The Sean Hannity Show” program on Monday. “My phone has been blowing up all day. The hard part for me is I don’t have a clue … I have no idea. Was it Tucker’s decision? Was it Fox’s? Was it a mutual agreement that they had? I don’t know.”

“I guess people think that because I’ve been there the longest that I’d have some knowledge or understanding of what’s going on, but … I just don’t,” Hannity continued. “For those who think I should, I say to those people: ‘I don’t own the company.’”

Newsmax Surges

Carlson’s exit also appeared to produce at least one immediate winner: Newsmax. The conservative-leaning competitor to Fox News has seen its ratings climb as Fox’s primetime ratings have seen a marked decline, according to Nielsen.

Newsmax host Eric Bolling’s 8 p.m. ET show had 510,000 viewers Wednesday night, compared to 168,000 the week before, Nielsen said. On Tuesday, Bolling drew 562,000 viewers, up from 122,000 the same day a week earlier.

This week, Newsmax has promoted claims that Fox News is shifting to become more liberal and capitulated to left-wing interests by allowing Carlson to depart. Details about why Carlson left the network are not clear.

“Fox has been moving to embrace more of an establishment position,” Newsmax’s chief executive, Christopher Ruddy, told the New York Times on Thursday. “They want to renounce some of the Trumpisms and populist MAGA stuff that Tucker was echoing,” he said, adding that he wants to “embrace all sides of the Republican Party.”

In an article published this week, Newsmax said that it is “available in 24 million fewer cable homes than Fox, making its viewership even more impressive for its cable distribution.” Data published by Nielsen suggests that Newsmax was drawing about 57 percent of Fox’s audience on a proportional basis on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET., it said.

Carlson drew 2.65 million viewers during his final program last Friday. He departed Monday with no explanation given publicly, although there has been no shortage of theories and speculative news reports about what occurred.

After the 2020 election, Fox News also saw a decrease in ratings when it declared on Election Night that then-candidate Joe Biden won Arizona, while former President Donald Trump said that his supporters should find alternatives to the channel.

Carlson Video Goes Viral

While Carlson has given no public indications about why he left Fox News, he released a 2-minute video on his Twitter page that lambasted the state of the media landscape. Over the past two days or so, that video has drawn tens of millions of views and impressions.

“The other thing you notice when you take a little time off is how unbelievably stupid most of the debates you see on television are,” he said. “They’re completely irrelevant. They mean nothing. In five years, we won’t even remember we heard them. Trust me, as somebody who participated.”

  • Jericho says:

    No surprise; Sean can’t create or hold an audience–even when he engages in live stooges shenanigans–and things will be even worse for Laura Ingram when they release the figures.
    This whole fiasco reminds me of them replacing Bill O’Reilly with jesse waters.

  • Dorothy says:

    Tucker Carlson did not go along with the program at Fox. I stopped watching the rest of Fox on election night 2020. I only watched Tucker. They are all afraid for their jobs on Fox and being the money they receive, I guess that is it. Hannity played into Fox concerns. They dropped Trump from being on their shows, it was obvious. If some of these News Host were 1/4 as smart as Tucker, maybe they would have a better show.

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