During Fox News’ Sunday show “MediaBuzz,” host Howard Kurtz discussed the ouster of Tucker Carlson and CNN’s Don Lemon who were both fired from their networks last week.
Kurtz reviewed the reports that Fox executives were “disturbed” by Carlson and decided to “part ways” with the top-rated host after reviewing his private texts. According to reports, in one message, Carlson privately referred to a senior Fox executive as the C-word.
Kurtz also cited the lawsuit brought against Fox News by former producer Abby Grossberg, saying it might have been a factor in the network’s decision to fire Carlson. In her lawsuit, Grossberg accuses Tucker Carlson of creating a toxic and discriminatory work environment.
Turning to Don Lemon’s ouster at CNN, Kurtz wondered why CNN waited so long to part ways with a host who had been saddled with controversies for weeks.
Kurtz then discussed what impact the high-profile firings would have on cable news in general, suggesting that the “big picture” might be that cable news is moving toward a “new era” where limits are placed on what their hosts are permitted to say.
He suggested that management on all news networks are now more likely to “rein in their top talent” while insisting on fact-checking to avoid “embarrassment” or more lawsuits like the one from Dominion Voting Systems.
Kurtz concluded that if this is the case, it may be a “worthwhile outcome” for the cable news industry.
After Tucker Carlson left Fox News last Monday, the network suffered a ratings collapse during its 8:00 pm time slot.
The Los Angeles Times reported that ratings at 8:00 pm fell by 47 percent after Carlson’s departure. While the top-rated cable news outlet remained on top of competitors MSNBC and CNN during the time slot in overall viewers, viewers from the coveted 24-54 demographic plummeted, with CNN’s Anderson Cooper finishing in first place with 163,000 viewers in that demo, followed closely by MSNBC Chris Hayes with 162,000. Bringing up the rear was “Fox News Tonight” with Brian Kilmeade, which drew only 149,000 in the demo.