Fox News Channel is pulling off something big, and it’s not just by appealing straight to President Donald Trump. “Outnumbered Overtime With Harris Faulkner,” its 1 p.m. ET news and talk show, is proving it can beat a broadcast competitor in the same timeslot… and doing that requires appealing to a lot more than an audience of one.
According to Nielsen Media Research, “Outnumbered Overtime” has beaten ABC’s “Strahan and Sara” eight times out of 17 episodes in July, and nearly 20 times in 2018. The FNC show also ranks as the top cable news program in its timeslot with 1.3 million total viewers, 207,000 of which are in the key 25-54 demographic.
“Overtime” follows “Outnumbered,” FNC’s noon show hosted by four women host alongside “one lucky guy,” often a political insider or politician. Faulkner credits the hour-long extension with bringing in viewers by blending that talk show vibe with substantial and breaking news, showing “what’s next in the story.”
“‘Overtime’ started as the after-show and grew to be a place where people could catch up from the other news they missed while feasting on the hot topics with us at noon,” Faulkner told TheWrap. “You’ll see a lot of news conferences and things unfolding [during ‘Overtime’].”
Faulkner explained that while she and FNC executives were looking for a show she could helm, they questioned what such a thing would look like – and they kept coming back to politics and breaking news.
“We’ve been able to do some ambitious things, and we knew going into this that’s what we were hungry to produce and what the audience wanted,” Faulkner said, explaining that her show premiered Oct. 2, 2017, the day after the deadliest mass shooting in American history took place in Las Vegas. That “set the tone” for what her show would cover.
Faulkner, who debates topics with key figures and goes deep on storytelling, says preparation… and listening… is the key to a great interview.
“The greatest skill that I have is what the viewer has: I listen. I try to listen silently,” she said. “While I may have a set group of questions, when that person is talking, I do have a place I wanna get to, but I need to hear what the answer is because that inherently gives me news and gives the viewer news.”
She added, “What I love about those interviews is you get a feeling of primetime in the afternoon.”
That primetime feeling, one based on heavy-hitting interviews and deep dives, is doing well for Faulkner, whose show is up nearly 5% overall and up 7% in the younger demo when compared to its network’s 1 p.m. predecessor, “Happening Now.”
Fox News Channel is often dominant in ratings, outpacing the other cable news networks in primetime programming. But it’s notable that an afternoon show on the network could outrank one on a broadcast channel. She attributes that success to the “energy” of the show.
“I don’t take a real close look at the numbers every day,” she admitted, noting that her executive producer does that. Still, she said, “I know enough to know every time a cable show beats a broadcast show…you’ve attracted people outside the scope of what you normally reach.”
“You have a finite amount of people who watch at a certain time every day,” she said. “But when you have that kind of success that “Outnumbered Overtime” continues to have, it’s gotta be a broader audience. I’m really thrilled about that.”