Fox News set off a political earthquake by firing Tucker Carlson.
Conservatives were furious.
And Fox News is about to pick Tucker Carlson’s replacement and you won’t believe who it is.
Fox News needs to name a permanent replacement for Tucker Carlson and needs to do it pronto.
After Carlson’s firing Fox News took a massive ratings hit as the audience for the 8 p.m. hour plunged 50 percent.
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) April 28, 2023
A chunk of these viewers sampled the 8 p.m. show hosted by Trump ally Eric Bolling on Newsmax.
Carlson’s former viewers liked what they saw as Bolling went from averaging around 120,000 per night to more than 500,000.
It’s clear Fox News will not name Brian Kilmeade as the permanent co-host.
Kilmeade is a “Fox and Friends” co-host and an establishment-friendly Republican who appears to be following the new Fox News editorial mandates to be more critical of Donald Trump so to help another candidate win the 2024 GOP nomination.
Brian Kilmeade was who sat in the anchor chair when viewers fled Fox News.
Puck News’s Dylan Byers — the reporter who broke the story about Fox News firing Carlson — now reports that Fox News is down to two finalists to fill the 8 p.m. role.
Either Jesse Watters — the host of the eponymous “Jesse Watters Primetime” at 7 p.m. — or “Fox and Friends Weekend” co-host Will Cain will receive the unenviable task of replacing Carlson.
“This time around, I’m reliably told, the most likely heir to Tucker’s primetime throne is either Jesse Watters, whose ascent from pedestrian accoster to The Five co-host to pre-primetime star makes his eventual landing at 8 p.m. feel almost preordained; or Will Cain, the former ESPN contributor who became a Fox & Friends Weekend co-host in 2020. (Not for nothing, Tucker himself was a Fox & Friends Weekend co-host for nearly four years before his promotion to primetime.) Anyone who doubts Fox’s ability to turn either one of these men into a right-wing media star overlooks both Fox’s production acumen and, as importantly, the degree to which fame and influence on Fox News can act as a mind- and heart-altering drug,” Byers wrote.
But this may be easier said than done.
Carlson built a following that was loyal to him as opposed to the Fox News brand because Carlson challenged the establishment support for open borders, the war in Ukraine, transgender rights, and seizing on the events of January 6 to weaponize the government against Trump supporters.
The Murdochs fired Carlson in part to send a message that they want an establishment-friendly version of conservatism on their airwaves.
And if Cain or Watters must fit their broadcast within the parameters of what establishment Republicans — like Fox News board member Paul Ryan — set, then their shows will be doomed to fail.
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