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Brian Kilmeade responds to ratings criticism following Tucker Carlson’s sudden departure from Fox News

Fox News’ decision to tap Brian Kilmeade as host of “Fox News Tonight” at 8:00 PM ET, following Tucker Carlson’s departure, has not been without its challenges. Since its debut last Monday, ratings for Kilmeade’s show have dropped significantly every day in a row.

Amid mounting criticism of Fox News following the departure of Tucker Carlson and a subsequent drop in primetime ratings, host Brian Kilmeade took to the airwaves to defend his network.

Speaking on a podcast with host Frank Morano last week, Kilmeade emphasized that Fox was “as strong as ever” and noted that popular hosts Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Bret Baier and The Five were still part of the lineup of the network . In his view, the continued presence of these popular personalities is a clear indication that Fox remains a force to be reckoned with in the world of cable news.

“[Fox] is as strong as ever. I mean, put it that way. I mean, did Sean Hannity change? Did Laura Ingraham change? Did Bret Baier change? Did The Five, the #1 show on all of television, change? he asked rhetorically.

“Tucker is very different,” he added. “He’s the original thought leader. I’m with his team now. They’re amazing as far as producers go. You have a great team of producers here.”

Kilmeade then hit back at media critics, including former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, who runs the “WarRoom” podcast, and others who have called on regular watchers to stop watching the network because of the departure of Tucker Carlson.

“These are a group of people who think they can run this network and they can’t. And I’ll tell you one thing … nobody’s telling us what to do,” he said. “Nobody: ‘Fox & Friends,’ three o’clock in the morning, three-hour radio show, you know, something goes wrong, we have a media relations call and we’re like, ‘What happened?’ That’s it. So it’s the No. 1 show for 25 years. And I don’t think we should restrict our format to make Steve Bannon happy.”

In response, Bannon wrote a reply to Gettr suggesting that the family of Fox owner Rupert Murdoch is using Kilmeade as a spokesperson.

“The Murdochs are trying to push back [at] WarRoom with doggy Kilmeade as he implodes in Tucker’s old slot,” Bannon claimed.

According to ratings, longtime Fox News host Brian Kilmeade saw a significant drop in viewership in the first week of his show, “Fox News Tonight,” following the departure of Tucker Carlson. The show’s first airing drew 2.59 million viewers, but that number dropped to 1.7 million on Tuesday, then 1.33 million on Wednesday, finishing second behind MSNBC’s “All In” with Chris Hayes .

That’s a sharp decline from the 3 million viewers Carlson averaged in March. Additionally, the other Fox News shows hosted by Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Jesse Watters also experienced lower ratings last week, with the exception of “Gutfeld,” hosted by Greg Gutfeld.

Fox News recently tapped Lawrence Jones, a 30-year-old self-proclaimed libertarian, to temporarily take over hosting Fox News Tonight, the interim program in the time slot where Tucker Carlson Tonight used to air.

Jones, who hosts Lawrence Jones Cross Country on Saturday nights for the network, is also said to be the “youngest black solo anchor of a cable news program in history.”

Follow Kyle Becker on Twitter @kylenabecker.

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