History of Fox News

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The Fox News Channel (FNC) is an American basic cable and satellite news television channel that was founded by media mogul Rupert Murdoch in 1996. In 2001 Roger Ailes appointed himself as permanent CEO of this news operation that was created as a Republican-centered alternative to CNN. In January 2002, the ratings of the channel surpassed top-rated CNN to become the #1 news cable channel. They fell in March 2002, but since then the network has maintained its #1 cable rating (as of 2019) with increasing viewership and international access.[citation needed]

However by 2021, the ratings for FNC begin to plummet, in the wake of the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol, with CNN taking the No. 1 network place back for a first time since the 2000s, along rival MSNBC in second place, & FNC being only third place. [1] [2]

Different shows[edit]

The channel was created by Australian-born American media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who hired Roger Ailes as its founding CEO. The channel was launched on October 7, 1996[3] to 17 million cable subscribers. Prior to founding Fox News, Murdoch had gained significant experience in the 24-hour news business when News Corporation's BSkyB subsidiary started Europe's first 24-hour news channel, Sky News, in the United Kingdom in 1989.[4] With the success of his fourth network efforts in the United States,[5][6] experience gained from Sky News, and turnaround of 20th Century Fox, Murdoch announced on January 31, 1996, that his company would be launching a 24-hour news channel to air on both cable and satellite systems as part of a News Corp. "worldwide platform" for Fox programming, reasoning that "The appetite for news – particularly news that explains to people how it affects them – is expanding enormously."[7]

Exterior of the Fox News Channel studios in New York City

In February 1996, after former NBC executive and Republican political strategist[8] Roger Ailes left America's Talking (now MSNBC), Murdoch called him to start the Fox News Channel. Ailes worked individuals through five months of 14-hour workdays and several weeks of rehearsal shows before launch, on October 7, 1996.[9]

At launch, only 10 million households were able to watch Fox News, with none in the major media markets of New York City and Los Angeles. According to published reports, many media reviewers had to watch the first day's programming at Fox News' studios because it was not readily available. The rolling news coverage during the day consisted of 20-minute single topic shows like Fox on Crime or Fox on Politics surrounded by news headlines. Interviews had various facts at the bottom of the screen about the topic or the guest.

In the 2000 presidential election, Fox News, which was available in 56 million homes nationwide, saw a staggering 440% increase in viewers, the biggest gain among the three cable news television networks.[10]

The Edge[edit]

Hosted by Paula Zahn, The Edge was one of the original programs on the network, focusing on talk between the host and newsmakers, like other programs on the network at the time. During the program's later years, John Gibson became host when the network discovered Zahn was in the midst of contract negotiations with CNN. The show was cancelled in 2002.

The O'Reilly Factor[edit]

On October 7, 1996, The O'Reilly Report aired its first episode, hosted by Bill O'Reilly. It was later renamed because of a suggestion by a friend. The O'Reilly Factor, unlike many other Fox News programs, is pre-recorded, or "live-to-tape," except when covering breaking news or special events. Some guests are interviewed before the "live-to-tape" period and are slotted in the program as appropriate. O'Reilly's producers have said that video editing takes place only when an interview exceeds the available length in a program, of which the total is 43 minutes (for an hour-long slot, once commercials and news breaks are added), though some critics have suggested that interviews are sometimes edited after taping to suit O'Reilly's agenda.[11][12]

O'Reilly and his producers discuss potential topics twice a week.[13] A producer will research the story and book guests for O'Reilly, and an information packet will be produced with possible angles for O'Reilly to explore. The producers will often "pre-interview" the guest so that they know what potential points he or she might make.[14] For each show, O'Reilly, with the assistance of his staff, will produce a script with the words for the "Talking Points Memo" and "Most Ridiculous Item of the Day" segments, and points of discussion and questions for the guests that will appear on the program. On February 2, 2009, the show began airing in high definition and moved to the previous set used by the Fox Report.

Your World with Neil Cavuto[edit]

Debuting as the Cavuto Business Report on the network's launch in 1996, Your World with Neil Cavuto has become a very popular show, hosted by reporter and commentator Neil Cavuto. The program covers the latest business news stories of the day, in addition to giving analysis on how the stock market moved through the day. It also covers political stories, such as how political actions may affect the markets, in addition to analysis of the markets by a group of analysts from one of the Cost of Freedom business block programs. Closing the program, the show has a commentary segment called "Common Sense," in which Neil gives his point of view on a news story of the day. The program is broadcast live weekdays at 4 p.m. ET.

Hannity & Colmes[edit]

FNC's Studio D for Your World and Malisong & Alfredo

Hannity & Colmes was an American television show on Fox News Channel, hosted by Sean Hannity[15] and Alan Colmes,[16] who respectively presented a conservative and liberal perspective. The series premiered in October 1996, and the final episode aired on January 9, 2009. It was the precursor to the current Hannity series, which currently airs in the same timeslot.

Fox Magazine[edit]

Fox Magazine was launched in 1997 as a weekly newsmagazine on the Fox News Channel. Hosted by Laurie Dhue, the program was an almost weekly look into some of the previous week's stories, in addition to special series produced by the program itself, such as its constant series about Nashville. These shows mostly consist of adverts from The Fox News Program and the NRA. Included in the programming were a recap of the previous week's commentaries from a number of the network's commentators. The program would come to an end on September 11, 2005, with Dhue leaving the network to work on Geraldo at Large.

Fox & Friends[edit]

Fox & Friends is a morning news show that debuted in 1998. It is currently hosted by Ainsley Earhardt, Steve Doocy, and Brian Kilmeade during the week. Weekends are hosted by Jedidiah Bila, Pete Hegseth and Will Cain.


Drudge was a television series on Fox News Channel that was hosted by Matt Drudge. Drudge left the show in 1999 after network executives refused to let him show a National Enquirer photograph of a 21-week-old fetus in protest of abortion.[17]

Ratings Collapse by US Capitol Riot[edit]

Fox News ratings fell below both CNN and MSNBC for the first time since 2000, in the wake of the attack on the US Capitol. According to Business Insider on January 12, 2021, Sinéad Baker stated that said that the Fox News got lower TV ratings than both CNN and MSNBC at the same time for the first time since 2000 in the past week. All three networks saw their viewership soar as pro-Trump rioters stormed the US Capitol, but the CNN and MSNBC bumps far outpaced the one at Fox News. Wednesday, the day of the siege, was the most-watched day in CNN history, while the week was MSNBC's highest-rated ever. CNN and MSNBC scored both higher ratings than Fox News at the same time for the first time since 2000 as their viewership boomed during last week's storming of the US Capitol. Data firm Nielsen said that MSNBC and CNN both beating Fox News in the ratings last week was the first time that had happened since September 24, 2000, according to Mediaite. The networks saw viewership soar as protesters stormed the Capitol on Wednesday, and that gap grew during their coverage of the event in the following days.

According to the Daily Beast, this is what the viewership figures looked like:

On Wednesday, CNN averaged 5.941 million total viewers, while MSNBC averaged 4.543 million and Fox News averaged 3.464 million. On Thursday, CNN averaged 3.854 million total viewers, MSNBC averaged 3.321 million, and Fox averaged 1.935 million. On Friday, CNN had 3.121 million total viewers, MSNBC had 2.816 million and Fox News had 1.702 million.

The three networks were the most-watched in the US for that period.

CNN and MSNBC also led Fox News in key demographics. CNN and MSNBC’s success wasn't the result of a collapse in Fox News viewership: All three networks saw an increase in viewership compared to their average day. Wednesday, the day of the siege, was also the most-watched day in CNN's history and MSNBC's highest-rated week ever.

According to Bloomberg, Fox said that its coverage on Wednesday afternoon had its highest ratings since the Senate hearings to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in September 2018.

Fox News has long dominated cable news ratings, and in 2020 it set an all-time record for viewership in a year. But its ratings have declined since the November presidential election. The network has experienced similar dips after previous presidential elections.

Trump has also picked battles with the network that was once one of his closet allies, urging his followers to turn to alternatives like One America News and Newsmax. [18]


  1. ^ "Fox News's post-Trump slump, explained". Vox. 2021-01-27. Retrieved 2021-01-27.
  2. ^ "Fox News ratings fell below both CNN and MSNBC for the first time since 2000 in the wake of the attack on the US Capitol". BusinessInsider. 2021-01-12. Retrieved 2021-01-12.
  3. ^ American Public Media: News Archive for October 7, 1996 Archived November 23, 2010, at WebCite
  4. ^ Shah, Saeed. (September 24, 2002) The Independent Business Analysis: Unstoppable Sky machine rolls on as ITV troubles worsen Dawn Airey's free-to-air television experience will be invaluable to BSkyB as it moves beyond its pay-TV model. Section: Business; Page 21.
  5. ^ Schulberg, Pete. (July 15, 1994) The Oregonian Fox is a business, if not artistic, success. Section: Television; Page E1.
  6. ^ Braxton, Greg. (April 6, 1997) Chicago Sun-Times How Fox broke from the pack to become cutting-edge network.
  7. ^ Williams, Scott. (January 31, 1996) Associated Press Murdoch taps Ailes for new network; Former CNBC chief set to direct 24-hour news channel, take on CNN.
  8. ^ Mifflin, Lawrie (October 7, 1996). "At the new Fox News Channel, the buzzword is fairness, separating news from bias". The New York Times. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
  9. ^ "News Corporation: FOX News Channel". News Corporation. 2008-04-18. Archived from the original on 2010-11-23. Retrieved 2008-04-21.
  10. ^ "Election gave cable news a wild ratings ride, but now it needs an encore.(Chicago Tribune)". Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service. December 19, 2000.
  11. ^ "Greenroom Confessions - Boise weekly". 2005.
  12. ^ "Bill O'Reilly.com behind the scenes Q/A".
  13. ^ "Bostonia - BU alumni quarterly". 2001. Archived from the original on 2007-10-14.
  14. ^ "Accuracy in media report". 2003. Archived from the original on 2007-10-14.
  15. ^ "Sean Hannity Bio". FoxNews.com. Archived from the original on October 12, 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-14.
  16. ^ Alan Colmes' Bio, FoxNews.com October 10, 2002
  17. ^ "The Going Gets Tough, and Matt Drudge Gets Going". The Washington Post. November 15, 1999. Retrieved 2012-06-07.
  18. ^ "Fox News ratings fell below both CNN and MSNBC for the first time since 2000 in the wake of the attack on the US Capitol". BusinessInsider. 2021-01-12. Retrieved 2021-01-12.