Chris Wallace, the former Fox News Sunday host that many contended was extremely biased towards Biden in the first Trump-Biden debate, showed his true colors when he announced that he was leaving Fox for CNN, a move many said was for ideological reasons. As the AP reported at the time:
But [Wallace] had grown privately frustrated with the overall tenor at Fox, where conservative opinion hosts have been elevated and amplified, particularly after the network’s ratings took a brief hit following the 2020 election…
Wallace had expressed his concern about the strident opinion programming to Fox executives multiple times, including recently after Tucker Carlson’s documentary on the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, “Patriot Purge,” aired on Fox’s streaming service. Two Fox News contributors, Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes, cited that program in choosing to quit the network.
In any case, though Wallace probably thought he was doing the brave thing by leaving Fox and taking his audience with him, that didn’t happen. Rather than Fox’s audience shrinking thanks to Wallace’s departure, it actually grew! As Townhall reports:
Fox News’ Sunday morning show, “Fox News Sunday,” has not suffered a decline in the ratings since former anchor Chris Wallace announced his departure for CNN’s streaming service.
The program even saw a rise in ratings, with the Jan. 23 broadcast raking in the most total viewers and the most viewers aged 25-54 the show has seen since Jan. 24, 2021.
According to Nielsen Media Research, the Jan. 23 episode of the show hosted by “Fox News at Night” anchor Shannon Bream saw a rating increase of 27 percent in the 25-54 demo and a 21 percent rise in total viewers over Wallace’s last show on Dec. 12, 2021.
So, with the RINO gone, Fox was free to create engaging, conservative content and its ratings shot up. It’s amazing what can happen when “men” without backbones are replaced by men with chests.
In fact, the network’s January 23rd broadcast drew in 1,404,000 viewers, tens of thousands more than Wallace was able to draw in on the January 23rd broadcast last year.
That might not sound like many, but what it represents is significant. Despite being widely disliked in conservative circles, Wallace was well-known and, if disliked for his obvious liberal bias during the debate, generally regarded as focused on the truth, at least in his interviews. So, even if people disliked him, many still tuned in to hear what he had to say.
So, if the network was able to not just recover so soon after his departure, but actually grow its audience, that means that a) Wallace probably won’t be taking many people with him to CNN and b) that he didn’t land a blow for leftism against the largest conservative TV outlet.
Rather than damaging Fox, as was almost certainly the intention of the CNN people that pried him away from Fox, his departure may have even hurt CNN, as that network almost certainly paid quite the sum to bring him into its fold and, if he’s not bringing his audience with him, will find it hard to recover that cost.