Newsmax Ratings Climb After Tucker Carlson’s Exit at Fox

Since Tucker Carlson was dismissed from Fox News, the viewership for the niche conservative news channel has doubled and even tripled in some time slots.

Newsmax Ratings Climb After Tucker Carlson’s Exit at Fox

Newsmax, a niche conservative news network that has played David against Fox News' Goliath for years, has seized on the shock dismissal of Tucker Carlson from its rival and has declared itself to be the real TV home for right-wing Americans.

The strategy has shown some promise so far.

Newsmax's viewership is still far behind that of Fox News. Its audience has increased dramatically in certain time slots and at certain times, immediately after Mr. Carlson left. This sudden increase has shocked conservative circles and cable news.

Nielsen reported that Eric Bolling’s Newsmax 8 pm program attracted 531,000 viewers on Monday night. A week ago, the program had 146,000 viewers. The audience of Mr. Bolling grew to 562,000 on Tuesday evening, which is about 80 percent more than Anderson Cooper's CNN viewers that night. Newsmax's prime-time programs also saw big increases.

The dramatic increase in viewers can be dated almost exactly to the moment Fox News announced on Monday it would part ways with Mr. Carlson. This was due in part to private messages that the anchor sent that contained offensive and crude comments.

Newsmax executives quickly spotted an opportunity.

Newsmax has been pushing a narrative since Monday that the firing of Mr. Carlson was a concession to the left made by Fox News and Murdoch's family.

One pundit said on air that Lachlan, the executive chair of Fox Corporation, is "much liberal" than Rupert Murdoch. Andrew Napolitano was a Newsmax pundit fired by Fox News 2021 for a harassment claim. He said that Fox News firing its top-rated host "is like 1927 Yankees firing Babe Ruth because of his table manners – I don't understand."

"A.O.C. speaks and Fox now listens," complained Newsmax anchor Chris Salcedo. These are the end times.

On Thursday morning, Fox News invited viewers to take part in a poll asking: "Is firing Tucker Carlson by Fox News justified?"

Christopher Ruddy, Newsmax's CEO, stated in an interview with Christopher Ruddy on Thursday that Fox has been adopting a more establishment-like position. Ruddy stated that they wanted to stop echoing the populist MAGA and Trumpisms that Tucker had been promoting.

Overall, Newsmax is a minor player in the ratings. Tuesday night, Fox News' "Hannity", a show with 2.1 million viewers, was followed by "The Ingraham Angle", which attracted 1.6 millions. Fox News cited Nielsen data that showed it had the highest ratings in cable television for the first three month of the year. The network is thriving after losing Bill O'Reilly, Glen Beck and other stars.

The absence of Mr. Carlson as its most prominent prime-time celebrity has been felt.

Fox News was beaten by both CNN and MSNBC on Tuesday in the 8 pm hour for adults aged 25 to 54. This is a rare loss for the network among the most important demographic for cable news advertisers. Brian Kilmeade (who was filling in for Mr. Carlson) fell behind Mr. Cooper and Chris Hayes, both on MSNBC, in the coveted 25-54 demographic. He still ranked first overall in viewership.

Newsmax has soared in popularity since Fox News settled a lawsuit for defamation brought by Dominion Voting Systems (an election technology company) with $787.5 Million. In that case, evidence showed that Fox News executives had been deeply concerned about Newsmax's rapid growth following the 2020 election when President Donald J. Trump criticized the Murdoch-owned channel for its prediction that Joseph R. Biden Jr. will win Arizona.

Newsmax was experiencing a surge in viewers at the time. One evening in December 2020, Newsmax even recorded higher ratings than Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum. MacCallum's time slot was changed shortly afterward. Its audience shrank eventually. Fox News, despite Donald Trump's complaints about its ratings, continued to be the cable news leader, largely due to Mr. Carlson’s increasingly provocative show.

Would Mr. Ruddy be interested in hiring the former Fox anchor to Newsmax?

"We'd be happy to have a chat with him," Ruddy said. He speculated, however, that Carlson may follow in the footsteps of Joe Rogan by pursuing an independent podcast. "He is one of the most significant and influential voices in conservative media and should not be ignored."