Lachlan Murdoch declined to comment on Wednesday about what’s next for Fox News’ programming after the shocking ouster of Tucker Carlson, but the Fox Corporation CEO predicted that the conservative channel would do just fine without him.
“Our program decisions are made with the long-term interests of the Fox News brand and the Fox News business,” Murdoch said during MoffettNathanson’s Technology, Media & Telecom Conference. “So we make those decisions really thinking broadly or long-term in terms of what’s the best thing for the company … And we’ve done it before, right? Bill O’Reilly was a superstar, Megyn Kelly was a superstar, Glenn Beck was a superstar and we’re able to move forward with programming decisions that ultimately result in long-term growth and profitability of the business.”
Carlson and Fox parted ways on April 24, shortly after the company settled a defamation lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems for $787.5 million.
Though the specific reasoning behind Carlson’s firing has not been disclosed, a behind-the-scenes feud with executives and the media giant’s public relations department were reportedly a “major factor” in the decision. Both Fox and Dominion refuted a Variety report that Carlson’s firing was part of the terms of the defamation settlement, calling the idea laughable and “categorically false.”
Fox also disputed an Axios report that Carlson accused the network of fraud and breach of contract and was preparing pressure Fox to release him from his $20 million deal, which contains a non-compete clause that limits his ability to appear elsewhere. Carlson has announced plans to bring a version of his show to Twitter.
Along with his departure, the network revealed that his 8 p.m. time slot would be replaced with “Fox News Tonight,” which was described as an “interim show helmed by rotating Fox News personalities until a new host is named.”
The network has seen its 8 p.m. time slot ratings drop significantly since Carlson’s last show.
On Wednesday, Murdoch cited a recent survey which noted that Fox News is the most trusted news provider at 42%, compared to CNN’s 22% and MSNBC’s 18%.
He added that programs including “Fox & Friends First,” “Fox & Friends,” “America’s Newsroom,” “The Faulkner Focus,” “America Reports,” “The Story with Martha MacCallum,” “The Five,” “Special Report with Bret Baier,” “Jesse Waters Primetime,” “Fox News Tonight,” “Hannity,” “The Ingraham Angle,” “Gutfeld!,” and “Fox News at Night” were all No. 1 in the 25 to 54 demographic.
“So we look at the the breadth of our programming and we’re very confident with the strength that we have in in these numbers that we’re gonna continue to drive premium pricing with our distributors,” he concluded.