Rupert Murdoch sent an email to Fox News employees on Tuesday congratulating the network for a “stellar performance” following the ouster of its top draw, Bill O”Reilly.
Though Murdoch never mentions O’Reilly by name, he does acknowledge that “the last few weeks have been tough for everyone here, but our passion for news and commitment to our viewers continue to lead us through.”
As TheWrap reported Monday, the company has been slow to react to the sexual harassment allegations which lead to O’Reilly’s ouster from the network last week. According to several insiders, the company has yet to hold a single company-wide staff meeting about the scandal, with one insider calling Fox’s handling of the situation a disaster.
On Tuesday the network ramped up its sensitivity training, urging its freelancers and contributors to complete the one-hour training “as soon as possible.”
Fox News dominated its first night in the post-Bill O’Reilly era as “Tucker Carlson Tonight” averaged 3.2 million viewers in the program’s first night occupying the 8 p.m. ET time slot.
The debut of Carlson’s new show in O’Reilly’s former slot was the most-watched cable news program in both viewers and the key news demo of adults age 25-54.
Carlson averaged 636,000 viewers among the key demo to help Fox News finish as the most-watched cable news network during prime time, averaging 582,000 compared to 328,000 demo viewers for CNN and 424,000 demo viewers for MSNBC.
It’s too early to say if Carlson will be able to sustain O’Reilly’s numbers. But as of now he’s been able to keep most of his audience. O’Reilly’s averaged 3.7 million viewers and 635,000 adults 25-54 win his last Monday on Fox.
You can read Murdoch’s memo to his staff below.
Last night’s ratings are in and I couldn’t be more proud to announce that, not only did FOX News beat all other cable news competition with our new primetime debut, but we also increased our ratings 31% in total viewers and 54% in the demo compared to last year. This was a stellar performance that couldn’t have happened without the amazing effort and dedication from everyone on the team over the last week.
I know the last few weeks have been tough for everyone here, but our passion for news and commitment to our viewers continue to lead us through.
Congratulations and thank you for all your hard work!