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Trump Reportedly Considering Launching Fox News Rival Network

With Joe Biden closing in on 270 electoral votes, reports have surfaced that President Donald Trump is mulling the idea of launching a news network to compete with Fox News.

According to ABC, Trump is furious at Rupert Murdoch and Fox News, and there is a belief a Trump-led network could steal away Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson:

Sources inside the industry have considered this a possibility for months. In the past year, Trump has routinely criticized Fox News. Trump complained about the channel to Rush Limbaugh in October:

“You watch this Fox, and it is a whole different ballgame,” Trump tells Limbaugh. “And you know Paul Ryan is on the board of Fox. So I am sure that has something to do with it.”

Trump continued, “When Roger Ailes ran Fox, I mean Roger had a very strong point of view that is totally gone, and I think it is influenced by Paul Ryan.”

Tensions reached a height this week when Fox News called the state of Arizona for Biden before midnight on Tuesday. Trump’s team was furious with the decision, and according to Vanity Fair, Trump called Murdoch to “scream about the call and demand a retraction.” Murdoch refused. The call stood.

Recently, former Fox News star Bill O’Reilly predicted that should Trump lose the election, he will go into media.

If there is a business that Trump knows, it is media. No one person in the past several decades has played it better or had a bigger impact on its outlook, credibility, and direction — from his phone-ins to Fox & Friends to CNN changing its strategy, to MSNBC’s “Russia, Russia, Russia” coverage to sports personalities like Jemele Hill changing their careers. Finally, he exposed the media to biases that many suspected but couldn’t prove.

That doesn’t mean it will be an easy task, if the goal is to take on Fox News.

There’s a difference between building an alternative — which he could do — and hurting and competing with Fox News. Like Google, Fox News is a default. It is a viewing habit for millions of conservatives across the county. Right now, its news division is stronger than its competitors. Most importantly, the network has never been stronger than now, breaking its own records every month and quarter. While some of that is the Trump-factor, he’s not the only reason. Fox News was No. 1 before Trump and doesn’t need him to stay relevant.

The report adds that a Trump network could steal Carlson and Hannity. If it does, the conversation is different. Hannity and Carlson seesaw back and forth as the first and second biggest draws in news media. In October, both hosts averaged over 5 million viewers.

Hannity is the more likely get. For four years, Hannity has had front-row access to the president, whom he knew long before Trump was elected. Trump could get at least four hours a day out of Hannity, if he would also simulcast Hannity’s radio show. Carlson, who is about eight years younger than Hannity, spends the least amount of time on Trump of any cable news host. Furthermore, with Carlson’s momentum at Fox, it’d be a risk and hard sell.

As always, money is the key. It’s unknown the budget Trump would have for a news network, though presumably, he would be willing to make Hannity and Carlson substantial offers.

Fox News has the budget to compete. Before his ousting, O’Reilly made an annual salary of $25 million. According to CNN Brian Stelter’s book Hoax, Fox News also offered Megyn Kelly a similar number. Stelter claims that Carlson makes around $10 million a year and that Hannity’s current salary comes in at $30 million, though other reports have said Hannity’s is lower than that.

With Trump’s promotion and names like Hannity and Carlson, this network would work. That still doesn’t mean it’d top Fox News, however. While losing both would be a blow, the Fox News machine would build new stars. It has a talented list of personalities under 50 with high ceilings, such as Pete Hegseth, Will Cain, and Jesse Watters. And Hannity and Carlson aren’t the network’s only top-level personalities. Bret Baier, Bill Hemmer, the Fox & Friends cast, Laura Ingraham, and Dana Perino are also marquee names.

For Fox News talents, this news is ideal. Competition helps employees negotiate for higher salaries. When FS1 signed Skip Bayless and Colin Cowherd away from ESPN with paradigm-shifting contracts, future salaries at ESPN spiked. WWE was at its best with WCW. The recently emerged AEW is a win for WWE performers.

If Trump goes through with this idea, Hannity and Carlson won’t be the only Fox News names he targets. Expect him to look outside current TV hosts as well. He’s raved about Charlie Kirk in the past. Media sources already predict current White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany would have a strong future in media post-Washington.

Poaching talent from Fox News would be a slow process. Each talent has a contract, some of which don’t expire for several more years.

Other pending questions — again, if this network comes to fruition —  include distribution. To make this work on TV, the potential network would need to be distributed on basic cable packages. It’s also unclear if the report refers to Trump creating a new network or buying a current competitor, like OANN.

And what would his strategy be? The industry already needs more digital focus. With almost 89 million Twitter followers, Trump could promote links in a way other networks could not match.

Though this would be the media story moving forward, Trump is not out of the White House yet. Only one major outlet has called the race, and most expect legal actions to be taken.

That said, this move would not shock me in the least.

Follow Bobby Burack on Twitter.

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack covers any news story that deserves attention but focuses on media. His interests include reading Stephen King novels, avoiding traffic on the road, and pretending to solve true-crime mysteries. He still believes Cersei should've won and encourages everyone to always question the news.

25 Comments

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  1. Really going to doubt whether Trump has the finances to make big enough offers to Carlson and Hannity? LOL. Wut. Carlson will have no reason to stay at Fox should this happen, other than fear of losing his audience size. I think a lot of conservatives are done with Fox and would gladly watch Trump News.

  2. Fantastic idea i sure hope he wins anyway i mean this is just awful the way this is being handled there is no legit way slow joe could win this. But Trump news my gosh wonderful it is very badly needed he has been treated woefully and has done nothing but great things for this country.

    • I agree. I’d love to see a sports lineup of non-woke, independent-minded hosts who love sports and keep sports the focus. The world should be big enough for a network that loves sports first and foremost and a network that sees sports as a vehicle for a specific style of social and cultural change.

  3. That assumes he’ll be able to get the same level of clearance any other new cable channel would.

    What if every cable and streaming platform refuses to carry the channel? The left undoubtedly will try to shame, intimidate, coerce, stop however they can that channel from being carried.

    Social media won’t allow that channel to promote itself, or if it’s allowed on those platforms its influence will be severely curtailed.

    He might be able to get on low-power broadcast TV, or on a station’s secondary channel….if the FCC under a Biden administration doesn’t cut that off. And if it doesn’t, and that’s the only outlets that channel has, it’s basically cut off by using a platform that really hasn’t been relevant since the 1990s.

    His best bet, honestly, might be to go the same route people like Gavin McInness and Alex Jones have: start his own website and host the channel there. That assumes, of course, the left won’t try to cut THAT option off to him….

    • Let me emphasize I would support a Trump news channel. It should have as much of an opportunity to exist and grow as a Young Turks channel (for example), or a CNN, OANN, Newsmax, msnbc, Black News Channel, and the myriad of other news and political channels out there.

  4. They absolutely should take out Fox. Fox has been using Trump voters for ratings the last 4 years. Fox is now just a bunch of establishment Republican robots like McCain and Romney, who are just as loathsome as the Democrats. They’re also part of the Swamp. Fox would be in the tank without Carlson, Hannity and Ingram. They’ve gotten away from what made them so popular In the OReilly era: Reporting news from a no nonsense, no spin, conservative perspective. Now, apart from the big 3, it’s turned into RINO-land on Fox. Screw that. If it weren’t for Tucker I’d never look at Fox now.

  5. This only works if they can pull Tucker, who
    Fox would likely write an unsigned check to keep. But if he left, Hannity and ingraham would follow (give them all equity stake). Fox daytime lineup is garbage, and after Chris Wallace’s debate debacle viewers are ready to jump. Bongino, Levin, Victor Davis Hanson, Katie pavlich, and Lisa boothe could be pulled and all deserve more exposure, not to mention bringing o’reilly back in the fold. Make it digital, and add a daily waters/guttfeld late night comedy show. This lineup would not only dominate network channels, CNN/MSNBC, but crush the current Fox News channel being run into the ground by Paul Ryan and Murdoch’s loser sons. I realize this is a pipe dream but a piece meal approach could work.

  6. It works unless it goes completely dumb. How about hire Trish Reagan, Liz Wheeler, Michelle Malkin, Mark Levin. Maybe Clay Travis and Jason Whitlock. Someone with real dough $$ can make this happen – I don’t know tonight? Pete and Will Cain from the weekend. Talent is out there. This is just sitting there for someone to make it a go. Trump – why not.

  7. With Chris Wallace’s 1st debate disaster and the Fox Decision Desk train wreck Fox viewers are prime for a change. I’m still turning to Fox once Tucker’s show starts, but have been watching more Newsmax lately. Chris Salcedo and Greg Kelly are strong Trump supporters as well as Lou Dobbs on Fox Business.

  8. If Trump ultimately loses, he needs to figure out a way to combine the resources and talent of OAN and The Blaze under one roof with his $$$. And, although I don’t think Clay would do it, I think Trump needs to simply ask Clay, “What’s your price?” and hand Clay a blank check to have OutKick as part of the new Trump platform? I haven’t watched Fox News or frequented Drudge in recent months. They’ve sold out their audiences.

  9. It makes total sense. He’d rake in ad revenue. Stick it to the Dems with incessant investigative reporting, etc. Buy Newsmax and gets instant carriage on cable and satellite TV. Rebrand it Trump News Network.

  10. This network idea has so much potential, they should essentially create the Outkick of television, sports/politics/culture. There is so much out there for libs and very little for conservatives. Especially now that Fox is selling out. I used to spend time on Fox before finding this site, now that I’m here Fox is laughable to me. Articles about Demi Lovato, some kids cat getting stuck in a tree in Arkansas, the pastor of some mega church banging his assistant etc… Total garbage.

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