Thursday 11 May 2023

During Fox Earnings Call, CEO Shares How Tucker Ouster Will Change Prime-Time Strategy

 Fox Corporation CEO Lachlan Murdoch said his company’s decision to oust ratings juggernaut Tucker Carlson will not affect how Fox News approaches its prime-time lineup in the future.

Murdoch signaled the company will instead seek a replacement for him and said its strategy in previous years has worked.

The comments were made during Tuesday’s quarterly earnings call when Fox divulged that it had posted a loss of $50 million during the fiscal third quarter of 2023.

The loss was blamed on the company’s decision to settle a defamation lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems for $787 million. 

Murdoch was also forced to address Fox’s decision to part ways with Carlson, who was the network’s most-watched anchor until his abrupt firing. The heir to the Murdoch empire did not reveal the company’s reason for axing Carlson. 

During a question-and-answer portion of the call with investors, Robert Fishman of MoffettNathanson asked about plans for programming at a post-Carlson Fox News.

“Can you discuss whether the departure of Tucker Carlson will lead to changes in the prime-time programming strategy and then potential opportunities for more national advertising?” Fishman asked, according to a transcript of the call.

“As regards to our programming strategy in prime time, there’s no change to our programming strategy at Fox News,” Murdoch said.

“It’s obviously a successful strategy. And as always, we are adjusting our programming and our lineup, and that’s what we continue to do.”

Murdoch concluded, “We are pleased with the strength of the advertising demand throughout our schedule, but particularly prime time.”

Carlson was not mentioned again during the conference call.

The former host’s 8 p.m. Eastern time slot has struggled to compete with MSNBC and CNN in the 25 to 54 demographic sought after by advertisers in the two weeks since he was terminated without explanation.

Fill-in hosts Brian KilmeadeLawrence Jones and Kayleigh McEnany have been unable to bring in the sizable audience that tuned in regularly for Carlson.

Carlson announced on Tuesday that he would relaunch his show on Twitter in a video in which he said the media’s coverage is often laden with “the stealthiest and most insidious” lies.

The video was seen by over 22 million people in less than 24 hours. The tweet containing the video garnered 105 million views.

Carlson averaged just over 3 million viewers on any given night at Fox News.

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