Against all odds, Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity are helping the network “lead the pack in prime time,” according to New York Times media correspondent Michael M. Grynbaum.
In a piece published Sunday, Grynbaum noted that advertiser boycotts and ongoing criticism from leftists haven’t been enough to overcome Carlson and Hannity’s popularity, which he credited with Fox’s ongoing ratings domination.
Drawing in viewers
According to Grynbaum, Fox has long been a major player in the realm of cable television. “In June and July, Fox News was the highest-rated television channel in the prime-time hours of 8 to 11 p.m.,” he wrote Sunday. “Not just on cable. Not just among news networks. All of television.”
Citing data from Nielsen, Grynbaum also said Fox’s average live “viewership in those hours outstripped cable rivals like CNN, MSNBC and ESPN, as well as the broadcast networks ABC, CBS and NBC.”
“[I]t is exceedingly rare for a basic-cable channel to outrank the Big Three broadcasters, which are available in more households and offer a wider variety of programming,” he noted. But with Carlson and Hannity at the helm, that’s exactly what Fox is doing.
“Even the return of live sports did little to stop the momentum,” Grynbaum wrote. “The Fox News programs hosted by Mr. Carlson and Sean Hannity drew more live viewers than competing baseball and basketball games, including a Yankees-Nationals matchup on Opening Day.”
Fox News and loyalty
As Grynbaum noted, this all comes in spite of boycotts from advertisers, who have been hit with criticism from leftists for supporting Fox’s right-wing opinion hosts.
According to USA Today, Disney and T-Mobile both announced in June that they would no longer sponsor Carlson’s program, Tucker Carlson Tonight, after he made controversial comments about the Black Lives Matter movement and accompanying protests.
But while Grynbaum noted that Carlson’s remarks have often “cost him advertisers,” they “have never really hurt his ratings,” the writer admits.
Grynbaum attributed this consistency to “the loyalty of Fox News viewers who shrug off the controversies that routinely swirl around the network.”
“Massive news events that conservatives view through a highly partisan lens are driving the ratings, and none of the controversies really land with loyal Fox News viewers,” Columbia University professor Nicole Hemmer reportedly told Grynbaum.
Of course, Fox’s ongoing success won’t stop leftists from continuing their push to get Carlson and his fellow hosts off the air. But whether those on the left like it or not, it seems these top-ranking prime time stars are here to stay.