The first night of Fox News Channel’s new post-Bill O’Reilly primetime lineup did just fine without their marquee name. Debuting in the 8 PM time slot anchored by The O’Reilly Factor , for more than 20 years, Tucker Carlson Tonight drew 2.9 million total viewers and 636,000 viewers in the key 25-54 news demo, both tops for the night on cable news, according to early Nielsen stats.
At 9 PM, Fox News’ newly shifted The Five was No. 2 for the night on cable news, drawing 2.8 total viewers and 568K in the demo, better than MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show and CNN’s The Lead With Jake Tapper in the hour.
Last night, Carlson kicked off his new show with a tribute to O’Reilly, who was fired last week amid a swirl of workplace sexual harassment allegations that continued after a New York Times report that Fox News had s paid out about $13 million to settle harassment claims by five women dating back 13 years, all while signing O’Reilly to another long-term deal.
Dozens of advertisers had been pulling their dollars from The O’Reilly Factor in the wake of the NYT report, even as Factor — the most-watched program on cable news for 14 years — had just scored its highest-rated quarter ever.
Carlson’s first guests last night: TV host Mike Rowe and Caitlyn Jenner.
Overall, Fox News revamped lineup along with Hannity at 10 PM (2.6M viewers, 543K in the demo) won Monday night with an average of 2.8M viewers and 583K in the demo, bettering No. 2 MSNBC (1.8M viewers, 424M demo) and CNN (955K viewers, 329K). Compared to the same day a year ago, Fox News’ primetime average is up double digits in both viewership (31%) and the demo (54%).