Fox News host Laura Ingraham has taken a lot of heat since Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg launched an advertiser boycott of her show in March, but a look at the Nielsen ratings suggest her program “The Ingraham Angle” has only benefited from the notoriety.
Even as dozens of sponsors dropped her program, Ingraham has remained strong. In fact, her first six weeks since the boycott have shown an improvement over the the previous six weeks in both overall viewers and in the advertiser-coveted 25-54 year-old demographic.
In the half-dozen weeks since she returned from a suspiciously timed vacation, Ingraham has netted an average of 2.656 million viewers nightly, with roughly 553,000 of those coming from the key demo. The comparable figures in the same time period preceding the boycott were 2.284 million total and 471,000 demo viewers.
We’ll do that math for you: Ingraham’s show is up 16 percent and 17 percent, respectively, since the boycott.
The show’s closest competition, MSNBC’s “The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell,” is down 1 percent overall (2.253 million vs. 2.231 million) and down 7 percent in the demo (491,000 vs. 457,000), while “CNN Tonight” ticked up 2 percent overall (1.005 million vs. 1.026 million) but is down 6 percent in the demo (374,000 vs. 353,000).
All told, from February 12, 2018-May 18, 2018 — including the low-rated week she was off the air — “The Ingraham Angle” has averaged 2.416 million total viewers, with 501,000 from the demo.
Those numbers top “The Last Word,” which received 2.220 million total/467,000 demo viewers, and crush “CNN Tonight,” which posted 994,000 total/354,000 demo viewers.
It may be true that no news is good news, but another proverb seems to be holding true here: There’s still no such thing as bad publicity.
While the primetime firebrand and her employer will probably still have to contend with revenue fallout from the boycott, the numbers suggests a ratings collapse — a far more deadly development — is not in the cards.
“The audience saw the boycott for what it was: an attempt to end Ingraham’s television career over one ill-advised tweet. The crime didn’t remotely fit the desired punishment,” Joe Concha, a media reporter for The Hill, told TheWrap.
“Fox News audiences, and I’ve been told this by the people at the highest levels at other networks, are the most loyal in television,” he continued. “It’s an us-versus-them mentality that is bigger than any one host. And in this case, they weren’t got to sit by and watch another host they like go down over something so silly.”
Hogg launched his war against Ingraham on March 29 after the conservative host mocked him on Twitter for failing to get into a number of colleges he had applied to. She later apologized for her remarks. Still, the ensuing weeks saw household brands like Wayfair, Allstate and Mitsubishi abandon her cable news ship — though she still kept MyPillow.
Ingraham put on a brave face when she returned from her vacation on April 9, largely ignoring the scandal on air, and only making oblique references to it by announcing a new focus on free speech coverage. A guest who did bring it up was promptly cut off.