FBN’s Stuart Varney Got Into Media Because Breaking Up Fights Wasn’t His Cup of Tea

By Brian Flood 

Fox Business Network Stuart Varney is the host of the network’s top-rated show, Varney & Companywhich recently topped MSNBC’s NewsNation in the demo for the fifth time since FBN changed its lineup. We caught up with Varney to discuss breaking up fights, the craziest thing he’s ever covered and his love of spicy Indian food.

TVNewser: You’ve been covering business news for more than 30 years. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever had to cover?

Varney: On a Monday morning at the end of August this year, the Dow dropped 1,000 points in the first 5 minutes of business. That was truly crazy! It is extremely difficult to cover a market in free fall in real time. You simply don’t know why the free-fall is happening: is it an economic or political development, or something technical like the Flash Crash. At the time, you don’t know, and you can’t speculate. “Crazy ” indeed!

TVNewser: Early in life you were a bus driver and then a bartender. How in the world did you end up as a business guru on TV?

Varney: After graduating from the London School of Economics, I hitch-hiked round the world for several years. In Hong Kong I managed a bar, until I had to stop a fight between British and American soldiers. Two friends, Reuters correspondents, watched me do an abysmal job of stopping the fight, so they introduced me to the man who ran Radio Hong Kong-he gave me a job as a street reporter and that’s how I got my start in the media. Later, in San Francisco I answered an ad in the SF Chronicle ” wanted, entry-level TV newscaster”…. I applied and got the job as host of Stock Market Today on KEMO TV… My economics back-ground and British accent finally worked for me in media.

TVNewser: How did the whole buzzer thing become part of your show?

Varney: I hate jargon, like “QE” or “P/E ratios” because it sets up a barrier with the audience. I go for clarity, not confusion, so we buzz anyone who strays into jargon territory… It is very popular with the audience.

TVNewser: We’ve heard rumors that you arrive to the office by 4:15 a.m. every morning. Why?

Varney: I am up at 3:15 a.m. every morning and I’m in my office within an hour. I need the time to read-in and write scripts and, I hate getting caught up in traffic. There is no traffic at 3.30, and I am a natural morning person.

TVNewser: You’ve lived in London, Hong Kong, San Francisco and now New York City. Which one has the best food and what is your favorite meal?

Varney: Indian food is my favorite and since I enjoy extreme spice. Vindaloo is my meal of choice. London has the best Indian food in the world, but New York is catching up fast.