Fox News has suffered a significant drop in viewership for the 8 p.m. slot since Tucker Carlson's surprise firing on Monday. Nielsen ratings, tracked by CNN's Oliver Darcy, show that 1.33 million viewers tuned in on Wednesday, compared to the 2.65 million who watched Carlson's final show on Friday. The ratings dipped slightly on Monday, followed by a sharper decline on Tuesday and Wednesday. This marks one of the first times in years that Fox News has lost viewers during the 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. shift, with Wednesday's ratings being the worst non-holiday figures for viewers aged 25-54 since before 9/11.
It appears that Carlson's viewers are turning to other conservative networks. Newsmax's 8 p.m. hour drew 510,000 viewers, tripling the audience that they had at the same time last Wednesday. This right-wing alternative to Fox News has been using its airtime to accuse Fox and the Murdoch family of caving to "the left" by firing Carlson. Fox News has not publicly confirmed the reason for Carlson's dismissal, leading to various theories and speculations. These range from his text messages regarding Fox News's coverage of former president Donald Trump revealed during the Dominion lawsuit to allegations that Carlson was unpleasant to work with and used vulgar language when discussing Sidney Powell, a lawyer who was central to Trump's baseless claims of voter fraud.
The Washington Post reported that Carlson's removal may have been influenced by his coverage of the war in Ukraine, particularly his support for Ukraine ceding territory to Russia to end the war. Some have speculated that the decision was made by Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corporation, and that his son Lachlan played a key role in the decision. Regardless of the reason, Fox News has lost a significant portion of its audience for the 8 p.m. slot since Carlson's firing, and it remains to be seen how the network will respond.