Fox Business has abruptly canceled Lou Dobbs Tonight, its highest-rated show, and a prominent platform for one of the staunchest pro-Trump voices on cable news.
The cancellation, reported by the LA Times on Friday, comes just one day after voting software company Smartmatic filed a defamation lawsuit against Fox Corporation, Fox News, and three Fox anchors — including Lou Dobbs — over false claims that Smartmatic technology was used to commit voter fraud.
It’s not exactly clear why Dobbs’ show was canceled. Some media analysts, including CNN’s Brian Stelter, say that despite his ratings, Dobbs was causing trouble for Fox Business even before his lawsuit, reporting that his insistence on repeating Trump’s false claims about election fraud scared off major advertisers. Fox had previously announced that it had been considering changes to its lineups after the presidential election, and said Friday that the cancellation was part of its planned changes.
“As we said in October, Fox News Media regularly considers programming changes and plans have been in place to launch new formats as appropriate post-election, including on Fox Business — this is part of those planned changes,” a Fox News Media spokesperson said in a statement. “A new 5 p.m. program will be announced in the near future.”
Given these plans for new shows, and the advertiser issues, the emergence of the defamation lawsuit may have accelerated considerations that were already underway.
Dobbs is still on contract with Fox News Media, but the company has no plans to put him back on the air, according to the New York Times. It’s unclear what, if any, actions Fox might take regarding its two other star anchors named in the Smartmatic lawsuit, Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro.
A right-wing populist who first
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