Fox News Media waved its banner during the Fox upfront Monday afternoon in New York, plugging a wide array of platforms but notably gliding past its main profit center in prime time.
Opinion shows like the one hosted by the recently ejected Tucker Carlson got only a glancing mention during the 7-minute segment. Carlson’s stunning exit earlier this spring has led to a steep and immediate drop in ratings for his former hour, though of course Fox News Channel makes a large share of its profits from distribution fees rather than relying as heavily on advertising as lower-rated rivals.
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Jeff Collins, EVP of ad sales for the news division, brought onstage veteran hosts Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino. After touching on the Fox News Channel, they took ad buyers on a briskly paced tour of divisions devoted to business, weather, audio and digital news.
Fox Nation, the subscription streaming service launched in 2018, has become a ““much sought out partner for Hollywood’s A-list,” Hemmer said, with projects from the likes of Dan Ackroyd, Kevin Costner and Kelsey Grammer.
As far as the sensibility of Fox News, Perino said, “We provide our viewers something they can’t get anywhere else.” Hemmer added of the network’s appeal, “We know the stories we report should be important to the country, not just the coasts.”
Hemmer also noted that the network will carry the first Republican primary debate in August. “It’s going to be a big one,” he said. (Of course, many details will need to be filled in by then, including the willingness of front-runner Donald Trump to participate.)
Perino, a co-host of panel show The Five, noted that she had been granted a leave of absence for the day. The show then streamed its talent on set into the upfront venue downtown from the company’s main studios, with the main takeaway being Greg Gutfeld turning the live shot into a plug for his late-night show. Due to the writers strike, he noted, the show is “the only show on late night,” which suits his preference for viewers having “no choice.”
Speaking of the ongoing WGA strike, as many picketers lined up outside the Manhattan Center on 34th Street seemed to be calling out Fox News as the AMPTP in general, based on their signs and chants. Though the demonstrations were vocal and the turnout fairly robust, the anti-Fox messages had a difficult time penetrating the tall, 150-foot-long, Hamptons-style hedge the company installed to block the entrance to the theater and shield attendees from passers-by.
Ted Johnson contributed to this report.
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