Tucker Carlson zooms past Megyn Kelly in ratings

Tucker Carlson Ratings Zoom Past Megyn Kelly

The ratings for Tucker Carlson Tonight are far outpacing The Kelly File.

Fox News Channel anchor Tucker Carlson took over the coveted 9 p.m. Eastern, Monday through Friday time slot on January 9 after Megyn Kelly announced that she was jumping to NBC.

Tucker Carlson Tonight originally launched at 7 p.m. when the formerly bowtied journalist replaced Greta Van Susteren placeholder Brit Hume, who came out of retirement just for the election season after Greta exited. Greta is now on MSNBC.

Fox also tapped longtime anchor Martha MacCallum for the 7 p.m. time slot to replace Tucker, at least for the first 100 days of the President Donald Trump administration.

Carlson’s 7 p.m. gig soared in the ratings which apparently proved very influential in the surprisingly quick decision by News Corp./Fox News CEO Rupert Murdoch and his executive team to move Tucker to the former Megyn Kelly platform. Presumably aided by some contentious debates with liberals that have gone viral, Tucker has thrived at 9 p.m.

According to The Hill, Carlson’s show in place of Megyn Kelly has proved to be a ratings powerhouse in the fragmented cable TV universe.

“Fox News’s Tucker Carlson is nearly doubling the ratings of his predecessor, Megyn Kelly, when compared to the same time period last year, according to Nielsen Media Research.Tucker Carlson Tonight is up 95 percent in the 25- to 54-year-old demographic that advertisers covet most compared with the same period in 2016, when The Kelly File occupied the 9 p.m. ET time slot. Carlson has averaged 775,000 viewers per night in the category, while Kelly averaged 398,000 during the same time period, Jan. 11–22…Overall, Carlson — who has hosted programs on CNN and MSNBC in the past — is up 37 percent in total viewers, at 3.73 million, and 50 percent, at 775,000, in the key demographic compared with Kelly’s 2016 averages of 2.72 million and 515,000, respectively.”

Although the bookend Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity opinion shows at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. respectively are and were pro-Donald Trump, The Kelly File featured a lot of anti-Trump content, which didn’t sit well with a lot of the fans of the New York real estate mogul who went on to become the 45th U.S. president.

“Against Carlson’s two-week average, CNN’s various programs logged 2M viewers and 633K news demo viewers, while MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show logged 2.01M total viewers and 417K news demo viewers,” Deadline Hollywood added about Tucker’s direct competitors.

Formerly co-host on the weekend version of Fox & Friends, libertarian-leaning Tucker Carlson previously worked for MSNBC, PBS, and CNN, and he is the founder of The Daily Caller website as well as being a former Dancing with the Stars contestant.

Tucker Carlson surging in FNC ratings as compared to Megyn Kelly
[Image by Ed Bailey/AP Images]

“Carlson told The Times recently that he doesn’t intend to be a cheerleader for Trump or anyone else, and that he will focus on the incoming president’s policies rather than his bombastic rhetoric. ‘He’s so florid and so mesmerizing and interesting or appalling, depending on your point of view,’ Carlson said. ‘He’s just so big as a presence that he tends to obscure what he’s saying,'” the Los Angeles Times reported about the Fox News star.

Megyn Kelly is reportedly subject to a non-compete clause in the expiring Fox contract, which means that she’ll probably begin her new role on NBC sometime in the fall.

Some Megyn Kelly critics contend that when she famously challenged Donald Trump during the August 2015 GOP presidential debate about his past disparaging comments about women (“only Rosie O’Donnell,” Trump famously quipped), it was more about careerism and auditioning for another network — which turned out to be NBC — than a legitimate journalistic inquiry

Writing in Newsweek, longtime media analyst Michael Wolff seems to suggest that the Murdoch sons apparently were hopeful that Megyn Kelly would navigate Fox News into a more liberal direction and away from the regime of ex-CEO Roger Ailes. Things obviously didn’t work out that way, now that the prime-time lineup is what Wolff describes as “a solid three hours of Trumpery,” but also means — based on recent ratings — that Fox will presumably continue to maintain or grow its audience

“With Kelly’s rising anti-Trump stature, and Eve Harrington-type cultivation of the Murdochs, a master plan was hatched: Kelly would become the Murdoch boys’ proxy at Fox….For the Murdoch boys—thought by many to be quite willing to risk the Ailes money-making machine that delivered $1.5 billion in profit last year—the Trump victory, likely as unimaginable and horrifying to them as it was to the rest of the liberal media, together with the loss of Kelly, may curiously have the effect of saving them from themselves. The network that they hoped might become more global in its outlook is suddenly more…Fox….The Ailes network that the Murdoch boys had vowed to reform is still the Ailes network and, in spite of their best efforts otherwise, they have saved $100 million.”

Tucker Carlson's show has far better ratings than Megyn Kelly
[Image by Frank Franklin II/AP Images]

The “Eve Harrington” reference is a callback to the Academy-Award-winning film All About Eve, in which Anne Baxter played an overly ambitious actress. “At Fox, for star colleagues down to make-up artists and, seemingly, by common agreement throughout the television news business, Megyn Kelly is the era’s most hardcore Eve Harrington case—soulless, heartless, shameless, avaricious, etc.,” Michael Wolff claimed.

Fox News was also the top cable channel for Inauguration Day coverage with about 12 million viewers, and with CNN and MSNBC not even close. Overall, Fox News ratings this month are up 24 percent as compared with January 2016.

[Featured Image by Charles Dharapak/AP Images]

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