Fox News anchor and temporary replacement for Tucker Carlson at 8 p.m. on the network, Brian Kilmeade, joined his talk radio colleague Frank Morano on Thursday morning and defended Fox against attacks from the far-right over Carlson’s surprise ouster.
“A lot of folks are wondering what this portends for the future of Fox News Channel. You have a lot of folks, folks like Steve Bannon and others, basically declaring war on Fox and saying if you watch Fox, you’re part of the enemy. Where do you think this whole episode leaves Fox News and its viewership going forward?” Morano asked Kilmeade.
“Just as strong as ever. I mean, put it this way. I mean, did Sean Hannity change? Did Laura Ingraham change? Did Bret Baier change? Did The Five, the No. 1 show in all of television, change? Did Neil Cavuto change?” replied Kilmeade, forcefully pushing back on the question.
“I mean, what are you talking about?” Kilmeade added, continuing:
Tucker’s very different. He’s the original thought leader. I’m with his team now. They’re unbelievable in terms of producers. You’ve got a great producing team here. Anyone, Frank, if you’re ever out, someone’s going to walk in and there’s going to be a machine to help them out if you’re ever out. So every producing team is literally their own franchise.
“You know, for Steve Bannon to come out and criticize Fox, really? This guy got, I guess, fired from the Trump administration, and then I hooked up with another writer and just ripped Trump from limb to limb? Then he gets himself in legal trouble and Trump pardons him, and now he’s a Trump loyalist,” Kilmeade added, accusing Bannon of hypocrisy.
“So, to me, I don’t know what they’re talking about. These are a bunch of people who think they can run this network and they can’t. And one thing I will tell you, nobody’s telling — all those names I just ran through, nobody tells Tucker what to do. No one tells us what to do. No one — Fox & Friends, three hours in the morning, three-hour radio show, you know, something goes wrong, we have media relations call and say, “What happened?” That’s about it. So it’s the No. 1 show for 25 years. And I don’t think we have to curtail our format to make Steve Bannon happy,” Kilmead concluded, referencing Fox’s long-run atop cable news.
Kilmeade’s two recent programs have struggled to retain all of Carlson’s audience in prime time. Where Carlson averaged 3.25 million total viewers and 443,000 viewers in the key 25-54 age demographic last quarter, Kilmeade’s Wednesday night show brought in only 1.7 million viewers and 149,000 demo viewers – which landed the network behind both CNN and MSNBC in the demo. Overall, however, Fox News still won the day across the board in total day and prime time viewership.
Listen to the full interview above (begins around minute 185)
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