Rumours are percolating of a new news network being formed in the US. Some say Steve Bannon is not simply going back to Breitbart, but that he has backing to launch a Breitbart News Network. Gavin McInnis, in leaving Rebel Media, says he will soon be able to announce something big, somethingh multimedia, “including television.”
I would be surprised in these rumours are not true. There is a huge business opportunity for someone here, and someone with money, surely, is smart enough to take it.
Fox News has demonstrated that there is a huge otherwise unmet appetite for news coverage and commentary on the right. They have been able to regularly dominate all other channels in viewership.
But recently, Fox has left themselves hugely vulnerable to competition on their right. Concerned about losing advertisers, they have been tacking left and dropping some of their most popular TV faces and most experienced executives.
Leaving them free agents for anyone else to scoop up who wants to challenge Fox for their audience.
In management, aside from Bannon, they could grab Bill Shine. Dropped by Fox May 1.
Bill O’Reilly, the network’s top star, is available. They dropped him over claims of sexual harassment. I suspect his fan base is still there. It was the advertisers who dropped him. Taking him on despite the allegations would, to a certain audience, cement the new network’s bona fides as the voice of the right. Bob Beckel is similarly free, for similar reasons. Sean Hannity has said on air that he was not sure he could stat with Fox if they fired Bill Shine. They fired Bill Shine. Judge Andrew Napolitano has reason to feel the network has not been loyal to him; they pulled him off the air.
Were a new network to snag all of these, they would immediately set themselves up as the “new Fox,” and probably snag a huge proportion of the established network’s viewership.
It seems reasonable to assume that, given the viewers, sooner or later the advertisers would follow.
There are also a lot of female stars that Fox has let go. But there the new network probably faces a choice: if they go with O’Reilly, they probably forfeit the female stars, who generally say they left because of a climate of sexual harassment.
Leaving aside the rights and wrongs, O’Reilly is far more valuable.
Up north, the recent troubles of The Rebel have shaken free some figures with appeal below the border. Gavin McInnis most notably: he was The Rebel’s star attraction. But aside from him, there are a couple of female stars shaken loose from the firmament who could well supply this need to emulate Fox: Lauren Southern and Faith Goldy are also free agents. They have the sort of visual appeal, shall we say, that worked so well for Fox for years.
Glenn Beck was dropped long ago, but was wildly popular when he left. He has been running his own little media empire, The Blaze, but it seems to have had its problems recently. He might be persuaded to climb aboard. I think he has a huge constituency on the religious right.
Mark Steyn is all set up with a studio, and has been using it freelance. Perhaps that is what he prefers. But he could make a huge addition.
There is also, of course, Milo Yiannopoulos. He is a big draw, and he, like Bannon, is vaguely associated with the alt-right. They were old colleagues at Breitbart. He could be the poster boy for the proposition that this new network spoke to a constituency that considered Fox too hidebound and establishmentarian.
Granted, he was too hot for even Breitbart to handle when he left a few months ago. But that was a Bretibart without Bannon; his view may differ. Yiannopoulos has apologized for what seems to have been a slip. I could see him working out for them, so long as they kept him cordoned off from the rest of the lineup.
There are a huge number of lesser-known figures who have made a mark on YouTube, and so have built up a constituency, which they could now bring to such a new network. Pewdiepie, most notably. He is not a political figure, but he nevertheless was pilloried in the media and fired by Disney for political reasons. He is the number one most popular YouTuber, and has cause now to want to join a new network to take his persecutors down. And then there are a batch of YouTube commentators: Steve Crowder, Sargon of Akkad, Stefan Molyneaux, and so forth. These are the folks the alt-right, and, more broadly, younger conservatives, listen to. Bringing on board a selection of them in addition to Yiannopoulos could establish the new network as the up and coming thing, and tar Fox with being old and sclerotic by comparison.
Surely someone is smart enough to seize the opportunity.
Nothing necessarily political about it. It would just be good business.
Even this is just the beginning of the opportunity. What Fox News has demonstrated to be true of television is also true of almost every other medium. Book publishing, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, are all vulnerable at the moment to being quickly destroyed by new competition building from a customer base on the political right. New ventures in each of these fields could be built out from the TV venture.