OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
The popular Fox News show “The Five” has undergone a massive shake-up in recent days. As longtime host Geraldo Rivera is gone from the program, another top host is teasing a departure of his own.
Popular Fox News host Greg Gutfeld shared big news when he revealed that he’s thought about the idea of taking over the primetime slot that was previously held by Tucker Carlson, who was taken off the air by the network in late April.
“Obviously, it’s crossed my mind,” Gutfeld told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published this week. “If I did 8 o’clock, I would definitely not do The Five, and I would no longer do Gutfeld! Those just happen to be the two most popular shows on Fox these days. I would just do one show because I would prepare for that show like crazy.”
Tom O’Connor, the executive producer for “Gutfeld,” said he believes the host would be a perfect fit to take over the 8 PM prime time slot.
“I think he could probably be successful in any of the timeslots,” said O’Connor. “I mean, we were on at 3 in the morning East Coast time when we did ‘Red Eye,’ and people found us.
Gutfeld’s comments came as Rivera announced late last week that he is leaving the hit show “The Five.”
“Morning, it’s official, I’m off @TheFive. My last scheduled show appearances are Thursday and Friday June 29th and 30th. It’s been a great run and I appreciate having had the opportunity. Being odd man out isn’t always easy. For the time being, I’m still Correspondent at Large,” Rivera tweeted.
Regardless of what happens with Gutfeld, it seems unlikely to stymie Fox News’ massive losses in viewership.
Fox News cable news ratings have collapsed in the key 25-54 age demographic after the network took top-rated host Tucker Carlson off the air in late April.
Things have gotten so bad at the network that longtime host Sean Hannity has fallen behind MSNBC’s Joy Reid in the key demo.
The 8pm slot on Fox with Tucker was not only consistently number 1 in the key demo – 25-54 – but routinely had 400,000 viewers or more.
Without Tucker, it’s crashed to worse-than-MSNBC levels: barely 100,000 people.
Hannity is in 14th place, behind Joy Reid!
A total collapse. https://t.co/amcsLNIZMo
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) June 20, 2023
Hannity’s primetime show has been feeling the heat since Carlson was abruptly ousted.
Hannity’s show, which got up to nearly 2 million in the final weeks of May, has fallen to around a 1.7 million average in June so far. For comparison, Hannity’s primetime show averaged around 3 million each night before Carlson’s departure.
“Fox News and MSNBC have been neck and neck in the cable news ratings in recent days and Wednesday was no different as Fox News and MSNBC tied in the total day demo. Fox beat MSNBC in total viewers in both the total day and primetime averages but lost the prime-time demo to MSNBC,” Mediaite reported. “Fox’s The Five remained the top-rated show on cable news with 2.68 million total viewers, helping to boost Fox’s average.”
“MSNBC and Fox both scored 156,000 total day demo viewers, while CNN was third with 111,000. In total day viewers, Fox won with 1.39 million viewers to MSNBC’s 1.2 million — CNN had 557,000. In prime time, Fox just beat MSNBC with 1.79 million total viewers to 1.76 million, and CNN was in third with 706,000. MSNBC won the prime-time demo with 216,000 viewers over Fox’s 166,000. CNN was third with 140,000 demo viewers,” the outlet added.
After dominating cable news ratings for years, the Fox News Channel has been knocked from its top perch left-wing rival MSNBC in key time slots.
“Nielsen data regarding the week ending this past Sunday was shared on Twitter on Tuesday by A.J. Katz, a reporter specializing in the cable news business. According to the data, Fox’s primetime 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET viewership averaged 1,504,429. The average viewership for the more left-leaning MSNBC over the same time frame averaged 1,520,857, narrowly beating out the conservative network that has long been a leader in cable news viewership,” Newsweek reported.
New: According to Nielsen data, Fox News averaged 1,504,429 primetime viewers last week, while MSNBC averaged 1,520,857 primetime viewers.
Barring a last-second data reporting change, Fox’s 120 week-long winning streak in primetime appears to be over. https://t.co/Q48BSYuFE7
— A.J. Katz (@ajkatztv) June 13, 2023
The network has not yet announced a permanent replacement for its 8 p.m. ET primetime slot. In the interim, they have opted for a rotation of guest hosts for the hour.
Fox News has maintained an impressive streak of 120 weeks as the leader in average weekly primetime viewership, falling just short of two years and four months.
The last time the network did not secure the top spot in weekly viewership was in mid-February 2021.
Since being taken off the air, Carlson has begun posting short monologues to Twitter, which Fox says is a violation of his contract.
The network has sent him a cease-and-desist letter, though so far, he has refused to do so, arguing that Fox violates their contract with him.