Fox News remains in the tryout phase of its search for a permanent host of Fox News Primetime, its new 7 pm ET opinion show. OutKick has learned and Fox News has confirmed to us that Mark Steyn will return to host the week of April 5t. The network has the show scheduled out for the next three weeks, with Rachel Campos-Duffy and Lawrence Jones set for returns the weeks of March 29 and April 12, respectively.
Of the seven tryout personalities, Trey Gowdy has the clear lead in viewership. Gowdy has recorded the first and second highest weeks to date.
In order of viewership:
- 3/8, Trey Gowdy: 2,057,000
- 2/1, Trey Gowdy: 1,988,000
- 1/1, Brian Kilmeade: 1,960,000
- 1/25, Maria Bartiromo: 1,877,000
- 3/22 (Mon-Wed), Brian Kilmeade: 1,777,000
- 3/15, Maria Bartiromo: 1,767,000
- 2/8, Mark Steyn: 1,759,000
- 2/15, Rachel Campos-Duffy: 1,728,000
- 3/1, Lawrence Jones: 1,713,000
- 2/22, Katie Pavlich: 1,647,000
In the coveted 25-54 demographic, Kilmeade’s first week leads at 347,000 — followed by Gowdy’s second week, 318,000, and Gowdy’s first, 307,000.
Though still a relatively small sample size, the one noticeable trend is Gowdy, who caused a spike in total viewership during both of his weeks, even topping his lead-in multiple times in Week 2.
The race, of course, is not a football game where the most points — in this case, viewers — wins.
I’ve covered enough TV and radio openings to know that final decisions are predicated on many reasons, including relationships, vision, format, salaries, negotiations, and long-term plans. That said, I do expect Fox News to at least consider ratings trends.
Gowdy’s case is simple: the viewers like him, he is friends with powerful politicians, and his two weeks were well received around the media industry.
Others have cases to offer as well, however. Kilmeade is most known among Fox News viewers. Bartiromo generates headlines and therefore makes an impact. Pavlich is one of FNC’s rising personalities. And Steyn has the invaluable connection to Tucker Carlson Tonight, a show on which he frequently guests.
There has been no indication yet that Fox News plans to add more than the current seven personalities to the rotation. In addition, it’s not clear when a final decision will come. Kilmeade finishes his second week tonight.