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Fox News Shake-up Is Good News

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(Alex Tai/SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

John Burnett By Wednesday, 26 April 2023 02:41 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Fox News parted ways with its beloved evening anchor, Tucker Carlson. The shocking news was announced amid the network's legal troubles resulting from the $787.5 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems and a recent lawsuit by a booking producer alleging Carlson promoted a hostile work environment fueled by bullying, sexism, and antisemitic remarks.

But the internal turmoil doesn't end there. Fox executives and Carlson have been at odds for quite a while. Namely, its CEO Rupert Murdoch and board members were likely exhausted by Carlson's relentless conspiratorial coverage of the Jan. 6th riots and other controversial views, including the debunked claim that Ray Epps is an FBI agent who incited the Capitol breach.

American capitalism teaches a valuable lesson — no one is irreplaceable. Just ask Bill O'Reilly, the former top-rated primetime opinion anchor at Fox, who Carlson succeeded. Many thought O'Reilly was indispensable then, and the cable news network would realize a considerable setback. On the contrary, Fox will likely find the right voice to fill the 8 p.m. ET spot — at least, it hopes to do so.

The operative word is Fit. Fox has shifted its tone since former President Donald Trump took office in 2017, and Carlson was on a collision course with News Corps leadership, the parent company of Fox. But why?

Carlson has claimed that Fox wants to sell the company at some point, so pruning the programming is a step in that direction. Perhaps the most prominent reason is that the media strategy is to dominate the political center, which requires it not to be too far right to capture Democrats and independents.

Hence, it is growing its viewers at the expense of CNN and MSNBC, which struggle to get their shows in the weekly top-tier ratings.

It's a risky strategy and a big bet with unfavorable odds. On the day Carlson exited the network, the Fox Corp Class A Shares dropped as much as 5.4% or $504 million. While the stock dip may help its stock buyback plan announced in February 2023, the Dominion settlement and evolving strategic direction could create fiscal woes if it hemorrhages viewers.

So, where do the defecting 3.7 million center-right Fox viewers go? Newsmax is the optimal choice, and the network is well-positioned to gain viewers, streamers, and subscribers requesting the station in cable network channel packages.

And the timing is excellent for Newsmax, having recently resolved its dispute with DirecTV as we enter a period of presidential politics that will yield more campaign announcements and Republican debates set to kick off in August this year.

But what is Carlson's next move? Time will tell, but he has several options, so it would be premature to start writing the epitaph on Carlson's media career.

He has plenty of options, such as launching a podcast similar to Joe Rogan that would give him the latitude and freedom to convey his thoughts, views, and convictions without a media filter or the need to get permission from a corporate overseer.

Alternatively, Carlson could explore a bid to run for office, but I doubt if he would want to beg donors for money, and he may find the thought of interacting with lobbyists repulsive. Or he could join a network like Newsmax to bolster viewership and produce original content for streaming to rival all competitors.

Who knows? But one thing is for sure; we have not seen the last of Tucker Carlson — stay tuned.

John Burnett is the Managing Director and Founder of 1 Empire Group consulting firm and a business executive with over 20 years of experience in the financial services and energy pricing industries. A veteran of politics, John is an official with the New York State Republican Party and ran for New York City Comptroller in 2013. An adjunct professor at Hampton University and New York University, John's editorials on business, the economy, policy, and politics have appeared in HuffPost, U.S. News & World Report, and Washington Examiner. He is also a frequent guest commentator on Fox News, Fox Business News, New York 1, and PIX 11 News. John holds a B.S. with honors from New York University and an MBA from The Johnson School of Management at Cornell University. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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American capitalism teaches a valuable lesson: no one is irreplaceable.
fox, news, tucker carlson, newsmax
Wednesday, 26 April 2023 02:41 PM
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