In the immediate aftermath of firing popular host Tucker Carlson, Fox Corporation lost a ton of value in the stock market.
After making the announcement that it would be parting ways with Carlson on Monday, Fox Corporation’s stock lost more than $800 million in value.
While Carlson certainly was controversial both inside and outside of Fox, there’s no denying the positive impact he had on the network’s ratings. AdWeek reported that for the week that ended with April 20, Carlson’s show drew in 334,000 viewers for the 8 p.m. time slot among the demographic of 25 to 54 year olds.
Those numbers are more than double what Fox’s competitors MSNBC and CNN were able to bring in during that same time slot for that week. It’s also significantly higher than other hosts on Fox News are able to bring in, including both Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity.
On Monday, Fox shares dropped 5.2% following the announcement of Carlson’s departure, down to a low point of $29.27. That means that the media company lost in excess of $800 million in total market value.
While the stock continued its slight tumble early Tuesday, it has rebounded somewhat, back up to $32.45 as of Thursday morning.
Still, the drop in value for Fox Corporation does forecast some future concerns for the media organization in the wake of not just Carlson’s departure but also the defamation lawsuit it settled with Dominion Voting Systems.
News of Carlson’s firing came only a few days after it was announced that Fox agreed to pay Dominion $787.5 million as part of a settlement for the defamation lawsuit that was brought against it. Fox was facing a suit of $1.6 billion because of the coverage the network aired during the 2020 presidential election.
While only one segment that Carlson aired was part of Dominion’s lawsuit, the discovery process did unveil many private text messages and email chains from Carlson that didn’t look good for Fox at all.
Some of those conversations showed that Carlson hated former President Donald Trump and that he didn’t believe the lies he was spewing on air about there being voting fraud, specifically connected to the voting machines produced by Dominion.
In some other conversations, Carlson went off on the leadership of Fox News for what he called destroying the network’s credibility. There’s been no official word from Fox on why Carlson was fired, but it’s not hard to imagine that these conversations were at the heart of that decision.
The fact that Fox’s stock dropped shouldn’t have a huge financial impact on the media organization in the near future. That’s mainly because ad slots are booked way in advance, according to Argus Research’s senior securities analyst Joseph Bonner, who spoke with CBS MoneyWatch recently.
That being said, an issue for the company could arise “if the ratings really crater” long-term at Fox News. As he explained:
“Intermediate to longer term, perhaps [there is] some financial impact depending on who takes Carlson’s place and their success, or lack thereof.”
For now, “Fox News Tonight” will air in the former Carlson time slot until the network names a new host.