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Fewer and fewer commercials are airing on Tucker Carlson Tonight these days, and when there are ad breaks, they seem to be mostly comprised of promos for other Fox News programming, or direct response advertisers, like the Fox News mainstay and the show’s largest advertiser, MyPillow.
This is according to The Hollywood Reporter’s Jeremy Barr, who writes that in the two weeks leading up to Dec. 13, when Carlson said that immigration makes America “dirtier,” Tucker Carlson Tonight averaged just 1.33 promos per broadcast.
However, Carlson’s remark caused the show to lose a number of high-profile sponsors (who moved their spots to other FNC programming), meaning more promos are airing in place of ads.
Tucker Carlson Tonight lost even more sponsors in early 2019 after the liberal advocacy group Media Matters published audio of Carlson making controversial remarks about women on a radio show between 2006 and 2011.
The nine episodes of Tucker Carlson Tonight that have aired since March 10, when Media Matters released the first group of Carlson’s radio show comments, have included an average of 6.2 promos per show, per Barr. That’s roughly 35 percent of the show’s overall available ad inventory, compared to just 3.7 percent in the period leading up to his December remarks about immigration.
All in all, the ad load for Tucker Carlson Tonight has been cut in half.
“We support all of our sponsors and they know the value of the audience,” Fox News ad sales president Marianne Gambelli said in a statement. Gambelli leads ad sales for the new Fox Corporation now as well. This means that in addition to Fox News, she’s also in charge of advertising sales for Fox Sports and the Fox Broadcasting network.
So what does this all mean? Fox News seems to be OK for now. Tucker Carlson Tonight is No. 1 among cable news programs in its 8 p.m. slot this year by a lot, in both total viewers and the 25-54 demo, the category prized by TV news advertisers. It’s also among the top 3 shows on all of cable news these days, running neck and neck with Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow.
There’s obviously a ton of interest in the show.
The network has claimed these brand departures from the show have yet to hurt the bottom line. But if those brands don’t return in the coming months and the money stops rolling in, FNC might have to take action. A source close to the network says Tucker is well regarded over there and won’t going anywhere.