Fox Business Chief Brian Jones Talks FBN Ratings, Employee Morale, and Charles Payne Saga

By A.J. Katz 

Fox Business Network has just marked a full year as the most-watched business TV network, according to Nielsen.

For Q3 2017, FBN averaged 187,000 total viewers for its business day programming (Mon-Fri, 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET) compared to CNBC’s 152,000. CNBC continues to beat FBN in the advertiser-friendly 25-54 demo (26,000 versus 23,000), but FBN managed to improve by double digits year-over-year in the demo, while CNBC was down -30 percent. (CNBC no longer relies on Nielsen ratings because NBCU execs feel the company does not adequately measure out-of-home viewing.)

FBN president Brian Jones says getting more younger viewers to watch is his goal. “That’s our No. 1 challenge,” Jones tells THR’s Marisa Guthrie in a profile. The network is set to mark 10 years on the air while managing a particularly tumultuous last 15 months.

Jones on whether or not harassment and discrimination claims have negatively impacted the ability of FBN to book guests:

I don’t think so. I really don’t. CNBC is notoriously rude to their guests. So we have a guest greeter meet you at the lobby where you come in, escort you to hair and makeup, answer any questions that you have. That’s my customer service. So guests who come into the building experience that, and they meet a workforce that’s focused and energetic and really professional. Then they see the ratings and hear good questions from anchors. And that’s what I want them to focus on, and that’s what they are focusing on.

If the scandals have affected FBN employee morale:

 Here’s the thing, and it is really, really troubling to me. All of that happened a little bit over a year ago at the exact same time we passed CNBC. Motivating a staff through that period of time and then they finally win and it’s overshadowed by events — that’s hard, you know? What we don’t get enough credit for is our journalism and our professionalism. And now it’s overshadowed because people are writing those stories. [Staff] never got to have their moment in the sun, and that weighs on me.

Jones on the rape allegations leveled against Charles Payne, suspended in July and re-instated earlier this month, and if there will be any further investigation into the matter:

No. That was a very thorough investigation by a professional outside law firm, and he was cleared and returned to work. And now we are working with him and his team to do the best hour of television that they can do.