For years, in the early to late ’90s, NBC ruled Thursday nights with a monstrous three-show lineup known as “must-see” TV. It was Friends, followed by garbage, then Seinfeld, followed by garbage, then of course ER followed by, well, I’ll let you decide what the 11 o’clock news was. You could have put mimes playing pickup sticks between those shows and people would have tuned in to await their favorite shows. I was in my teens, but it didn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that one day, the monster would be slain. It wasn’t an if but a when.
In 1995, had someone told you that one day there would be a “conservative” network that not just surpassed CNN but actually dominated that cable operation, it would have seemed as crazy a thought as a phone that could one day could get you a date. An even crazier thought would have been that Donald Trump would one day become the GOP nominee. Now, I don’t know what the world will look like in 2030. Whether we will all be flying in cars, or have phones implanted in our heads, or whether they will have finally created self-cleaning toilets that work. But I do know that if Fox News isn’t very, and I mean very, careful, it will cease to exist. Worse, it will have become CNN.
Let’s be clear. Fox News is Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity. With some other really good programs sprinkled in like Outnumbered, The Five, Cavuto, and any time Tucker Carlson or Charles Hurt are on, and of course this is all subjective. The rest, for the most part, are interchangeable mimes playing with pick-up sticks. Have you ever heard someone say that they had to be home at noon to watch Shepard Smith reporting? Yes, I like the last 22 minutes of Special Report with Bret Baier, but would you watch the show at all without the brilliant curmudgeon Charles Krauthammer? This isn’t a knock either, mimes with pickup sticks serve a purpose. They are there to not stir the pot too much. They are there to get you to your favorite show. But what happens when the mime thinks he, or in this case she, is the star? That’s when you begin to have a problem, and Fox, you have a problem!
You have a clear and simple choice. You either go with the mime, and yes, I’m being kind and not mentioning a name, or you risk losing not just your stars but your actual base. Since you seem to have gotten into the polling arena, why not do a Fox News poll on Fox News? Ask viewers how many tune in for the mime, or the stars that surround her. Ask viewers how close they are to jumping ship. If there were another network that had your two stars, let’s say hypothetically it was called Trump TV, and they were to jump ship, how many viewers would follow? Ask viewers this simple question: “How many of you mute the mime, or just switch channels?” Conservatives made you, and the new conservatives will break you. It’s that simple.
Of course, I could be wrong and the mime could be the real star. But how many of you remember The Single Guy, or Suddenly Susan? Your stars are as viable now as they have ever been. I know they aren’t the new flashy app, or the car that flies, but they are the car that you want to be taking you home when the traffic stinks, and for many, if you haven’t noticed, the traffic stinks. I get it. Out with the old regime and in with the new. The kids will be taking over for daddy soon. Saying that you are Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly’s boss, at the swanky gala, isn’t exactly going to get you nominated for elite choice awards. Change is inevitable, and often good, but there’s also the adage of “don’t fix what ain’t broke.”
You are the business men, and I’m not. Just ask yourselves whether or not the risk is worth the reward: one mime star, versus a few real stars, and many, many great players. The hands have already been dealt. The new conservative base is all in. It’s the mime or them. Trump TV is breathing. Do you call, or do you fold? We will find out in less than a month. We are showing you our hand, and yes, it’s far better. In fifteen years, do you want people to have to google what Fox News was, or still be watching? Remember, “must see” TV only works if there is something on it that is “must see.”