OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
A new book by former CNN chief media correspondent Brian Stelter claims that Fox News host Jeanine Pirro’s executive producer referred to her as a “reckless maniac.”
Before it was published in the Daily Beast’s Confider newsletter, a portion of Stelter’s upcoming book, “Network of Lies: The Epic Saga of Fox News, Donald Trump, and the Battle for American Democracy,” was leaked. It described Pirro’s relationship with Fox News management.
The book claims that Fox News management planned for Pirro’s promotion to regular co-host on “The Five” to be a demotion because her now-canceled weekend show, “Justice with Judge Jeanine,” was a major vehicle for spreading the myth that Dominion Voting Systems played a part in the 2020 election’s alleged manipulation. Fox News later reached a $787.5 million settlement with Dominion.
“Pirro was a problem,” two anonymous sources told Stelter, “because of her stubborn, slavish Trumpiness and because she had clashed with Fox executives who had grown tired of her histrionic shenanigans.”
It was also reported that Pirro had accused management of “censorship” for suggesting changes to the opening monologues of her weekend show, Justice with Judge Jeanine.
A previous filing in the Dominion lawsuit indicated that Pirro had become so uncontrollable that her executive producer had called her a “reckless maniac.” Stelter asserts that it was her negligence that ultimately caused Fox to cancel her show.
Since “nobody wanted to deal with her,” as one of the sources put it, Pirro was demoted to The Five, where she lost the freedom to pen her monologues and select the guests she interviewed.
Ironically enough, Pirro’s “demotion” to “The Five” resulted in her gaining a far larger viewership.
A source familiar with the matter told Mediaite that demotion is “completely inaccurate,” noting that “you don’t get demoted to the number one show in cable news that’s on five nights a week.”
Fox News once again topped all cable news networks in October, but only CNN and MSNBC gained viewers compared to last year.
Fox News’ prime-time audience dropped to 2.12 million viewers, or 7% less than in October 2022. MSNBC’s audience grew by 12% to 1.33 million, while CNN’s grew by 16% to 722,000. In the 25-54 demo, Fox News averaged 256,000, off by 13%, while CNN averaged 167,000, up 25%, and MSNBC posted 132,000, up 16%.
Overall, Fox News’ 1.36 million viewers were down 8% from a year ago, while MSNBC’s 895,000 viewers were up 19%, and CNN’s 600,000 viewers were up 12%. Fox News’ average viewership among adults 25–54 fell by 15%, while CNN gained 17% and MSNBC gained 23%.
The Five on Fox News attracted 3 million viewers, making it the most-watched cable news show once again. Hannity came in second with 2.58 million viewers, followed by Special Report with 2.21 million, The Ingraham Angle with 2.17 million, and Jesse Watters Primetime with 2.58 million.
Hannity (300,000), Gutfeld! (292,00), Jesse Watters Primetime (270,000), and The Ingraham Angle (244,000) were the next four programs, with an average of 316,000 adults aged 25-54, Deadline reported.
MSNBC reports that Rachel Maddow’s Monday night show pulls in an average of 2.5 million viewers.
With constant new developments, the networks all claimed victory. Fox News claimed its primetime viewers outnumbered those of CNN and MSNBC put together. Both MSNBC and CNN reported increases in their total day audiences; CNN noted that its increase was the largest percentage among its competitors and that it was the highest since March 2022.
Meanwhile, NewsNation reported an increase of 23% in total viewers and a 38% increase in the 25-54 demo for its weeknight primetime programming. The last week of the month also marked the highest-rated week in total days for the network, with an average of 67,000 viewers and 13,000 in the 25-54 demo.