The Murdoch boys have made major changes to Fox News Channels’ prime-time schedule and the ratings aren’t good – at all.
We now have the first set of ratings where a possible trend can be seen. The lineup as it stood Monday, May 8th has been in place for a week giving us a decent week-to-week comparison.
For those not familiar, here is the new FNC evening lineup as designed by Lachlan and James Murdoch:
|Time Slot||Show Name|
|4p||Your World with Neil Cavuto|
|5p||Fox News Specialists|
|7p||The Story with Martha MacCallum|
|8p||Tucker Carlson Tonight|
|11p||Tucker Carlson Tonight|
The most important demographic to advertisers is the 25-54 age group. On May 1st, the first day of the new lineup, here were the numbers for the key group:
|Time Slot||Show Name||Ratings|
|4p||Your World With Neil Cavuto||312|
|5p||Fox News Specialists||336|
|7p||The Story with Martha MacCallum||332|
|8p||Tucker Carlson Tonight||491|
|11p||Tucker Carlson Tonight||383|
Then on May 8th, we see what may be fading sentiment for some shows and certainly for those shows in their new time slots.
|Time Slot||Show Name||Ratings|
|4p||Your World With Neil Cavuto||299|
|5p||Fox News Specialists||279|
|7p||The Story with Martha MacCallum||362|
|8p||Tucker Carlson Tonight||455|
|11p||Tucker Carlson Tonight||313|
Neil Cavuto and Sean Hannity faired the best in the comparison with only minor week-to-week drops. Martha MacCallum and the Five took more serious hits and the brand new “Fox News Specialists” got slaughtered.
MacCallum’s show will likely regain the share of viewers it had when it focused on Trump’s first 100 days. Her format is good for the 7 pm hour and she’s a an engaging host.
Moving “The Five” to 9 o’clock was a terrible decision. It’s not a good lead in for Hannity and won’t pull the same audience from Carlson’s more combative show. 5 pm was the perfect slot for that show and moving it may slate it for the scrap heap.
And now “Fox News Specialists”… It’s a mess. Today’s episode featured the architect of Obamacare and the author of “Clinton Cash” trying to score political points against each other while Kat Tempf played referee. I turned it off.
Bill O’Reilly was the anchor of the Fox News prime-time lineup and after being forced out by Rupert Murdoch’s sons, Fox is losing viewers in a key demographic. Guess who’s picking them up? It’s MSNBC. Here are their week-to-week numbers in the 25-54 demo:
|Time Slot||Show Host||May 1 Rating||May 8 Rating|
That’s a huge jump for every single timeslot. Granted, more ideologically conservative viewers aren’t going to go from Fox News to MSNBC, but the more important and malleable middle might. O’Reilly was perfect as the keystone. Not too forceful, not too easy. His knowledge left little room for opposition guests to maneuver and the friendlies always had their say, but not without a check.
When we compare May 8 ratings from both networks, it’s apparent that the Murdoch children have screwed the pooch, but it may be too late for daddy to administer a spanking.
|Time Slot||Competing Shows||May 8 MSNBC Rating||May 8 FNC Rating|
|4p||Live v. Cavuto||268||299|
|5p||MTP Daily v. Specialists||322||279|
|6p||Greta v. Baier||252||368|
|7p||Mathews v. MacCallum||344||362|
|8p||Hayes v. Carlson||416||455|
|9p||Maddow v. The Five||585||441|
|10p||O'Donnell v. Hannitry||460||461|
|11p||Williams v. Carlson repeat||322||313|
MSNBC is now closing fast on the 4p timeslot and has grabbed the lead in the 5p, 6p times. Martha is barely holding on in the 7p timeslot, but she’ll likely hold on there. 8 pm is on the verge of being lost to the crazy Mika network while 9 pm is all Maddow’s. Late night news .. is MSNBC’s for the taking.
Rupert’s kids may have brought about the death of a once great news network. But only time will tell.
We mustn’t forget that Fox (NASDAQ: FOX) is a publicly held company and it won’t be long until shareholders demand blood if this trend continues.