It’s been nearly two months since former Fox News anchor Chris Wallace announced he was leaving the network after 18 years to join CNN’s streaming service, and judging by the ratings, viewers of “Fox News Sunday” haven’t exactly been pining for his return.
According to the all-important Nielsen Media Research group, as reported Friday on Townhall, the morning news show now hosted by anchor Shannon Bream has enjoyed a spike in ratings, earning a 21 percent increase in total viewers since Wallace signed off on Dec. 12, 2021. Viewership in the key 25-54 demographic increased by 343,000 viewers.
That Chris Wallace isn’t missed is no surprise to anyone who witnessed the reactions on social media when he announced his departure. The clearly liberal views held by Wallace had long been a source of irritation to Fox News viewers. When news he was leaving came, folks on Twitter weren’t shy about voicing their opinions, with some wondering if the veteran reporter wasn’t dooming himself to irrelevance.
Chris Wallace's decision to leave Fox News for CNN is a real head scratcher. I know he's a hardcore lib, but even still, you'll get better ratings at Fox, sad as they are. Look at Shep Smith and Megyn Kelly. Both careers tanked. Now they're invisible. Same will happen to Chris.
— LivePDDave 🇺🇸 🚨 🥊 (@LivePDDave1) December 18, 2021
Others were just happy to see him go, calling it a “win” for FNC.
So Chris Wallace is leaving Fox.
Sunday was his last broadcast! High time this wacko Democrat leave!
To think on his last show he'd give Comrade Bill de Blasio time to sell his poison politics 🤔 is who Chris Wallace is! Please, let the 🚪 spank you Chris on the way out! pic.twitter.com/NS2xAmEwRq
— Daniel F. Baranowski (@DFBHarvard) December 13, 2021
Fox News – 1
CNN – 0
Chris Wallace to leave Fox for CNN.
— Buzz Patterson (@BuzzPatterson) December 12, 2021
Critics, however, argued that, with the loss of Wallace, Fox News Channel was losing much of the “balance” in their “fair and balanced” reporting.
Following Wallace’s shock announcement on his final day on Fox News, former director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University Frank Sesno told The Hill: “It means that [Fox has] lost a very important and significant part of their brand, but it may be a part of their brand that has fallen out of favor with a large part of their audience.”
“His presence gave Fox News some cover to say it was doing some legit journalism and giving everyone a run for their money. His departure deprives them of that,” Sesno said.
Anchor Bret Baier was the first to slide into Wallace’s morning seat and, since then, FNC has been rotating its anchors to take turns hosting “Fox News Sunday,” with Bill Hemmer, Harris Faulkner, Dana Perino, Neil Cavuto and others filling in.
But it was “Fox News at Night” anchor Shannon Bream who brought in the big numbers when she hosted on Jan. 23.
The episode, which featured South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, brought in the most viewers from the 25-54 bracket the show has seen in more than a year.
How Wallace will fair in his move remains to be seen.
CNN+ is not scheduled to start streaming until spring.
According to a network press release, “CNN+ will expand CNN’s unparalleled multiplatform global reach to provide a new, additive experience that complements the core CNN linear networks and digital platforms to serve CNN superfans, news junkies and fans of quality non-fiction programming.”
The service promises to deliver “original, live, on demand and interactive programming as a standalone direct-to-consumer service with offerings that are separate and distinct from CNN, CNN International, HLN and CNN Español linear TV channels.”
Good luck, Chris.
At CNN, you’re bound to need it.
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