The Most Loved (And Hated) Fox News Hosts and Contributors
Fox News’ large network of hosts covers everything from school shootings to international affairs. Their comments often lead to controversy, yet the network consistently leads the pack with top ratings. Every Fox viewer has a favorite host and ones they can’t stand. So, whether they’ve left the network or their Fox careers are going strong, these are the most loved and hated Fox News contributors. One highly controversial figure is clearly the network’s most hated host (No. 10).
1. Loved: Tucker Carlson
With Bill O’Reilly out (more on that soon), Tucker Carlson took over The O’Reilly Factor’s 8 p.m. time slot. Tucker Carlson Tonight has attracted a younger audience, with a 16% increase in viewers age 25 to 54 during the second quarter of 2017. Tucker Carlson Tonight was the “highest rated hour in cable news” in May 2017, according to Forbes, which deemed Carlson “the king of cable news” after 2.67 million viewers tuned in.
Next: This host loves a good feud.
2. Hated: Geraldo Rivera
Geraldo Rivera certainly isn’t contributing when it comes to Fox News’ high ratings. His Fox News show, Geraldo at Large, is poorly rated, and the star himself has been subject to a lot of controversies. He landed in hot water when he defended Matt Lauer following Lauer’s sexual misconduct allegations, tweeting that the news is a “flirty” business.
After this, an old interview with Bette Midler surfaced where she claimed Rivera groped her. Rivera then tweeted, “Reaction to my tweets today on
#sexharassment makes clear I didn’t sufficiently explain that this is a horrendous problem long hidden-Harassers are deviants who deserve what is coming to them-Often victims are too frightened to come forward in a timely fashion-I humbly apologize.”
Next: One host’s departure led to the rise of her replacement.
3. Loved: Brit Hume
Following Van Susteren’s departure from Fox News, Brit Hume took over On the Record. Ratings immediately rose a shocking 83% from the same day the previous year in key demo viewers age 25 to 54, adding up to 429,000 people tuning in. The new host brought in a recorded total of 2.4 million viewers.
Hume said of Van Susteren’s abrupt exit, “I count Greta a friend and I’m sorry to see her go.”
Next: A claim about Muslims goes way too far.
4. Hated: Jeanine Pirro
The Fox News anchor spoke with terrorism analyst Steve Emerson about supposed Muslim-only zones in Europe. Emerson claimed, “There are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim, where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in.” The problem: This is completely false.
Pirro later issued a correction, saying, “There is no formal designation of these zones in either country and no credible information to support the assertion there are specific areas in these countries that exclude individuals based solely on their religion.”
Next: She served as the face of Fox News for years.
5. Loved: Megyn Kelly
She may not be a part of Fox News anymore, but viewers remember Megyn Kelly for her 12 years with the network. The Kelly File was “the second-most watched show on Fox News” in April 2016, according to The Wrap. In 2013, Kelly weighed in on whether Santa’s race could be anything other than white. From the video, it’s clear Kelly felt strongly about the topic, saying, “For all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white … Jesus was a white man, too.”
Kelly didn’t respond to critics until she left Fox, ultimately expressing regret. Her departure from Fox News was controversial, too. Trump infamously tweeted multiple insults toward Kelly, including, “Everyone should boycott the @megynkelly show. Never worth watching. Always a hit on Trump! She is sick, & the most overrated person on tv.”
Next: This “clueless” Fox News host went on a crazy rant.
6. Hated: Stacey Dash
A decidedly different face on Fox, Stacey Dash is best known for playing Dionne Davenport in 1990’s Clueless. She later made a name for herself on Fox & Friends after calling for an end to Black History Month.
In 2016, the commentator said, “Either we want to have segregation or integration, and if we don’t want segregation, then we have to get rid of channels like BET … where you’re only awarded if you’re black. If it were the other way around, we would be up in arms. It’s a double standard. There shouldn’t be a Black History Month.” BET responded, tweeting a picture of her from their series The Game with the caption, “Soooooo @REALStaceyDash can we get our check back… or nah?”
Next: A death threat is never funny.
7. Hated: Liz Trotta
The Fox News contributor shockingly joked about killing President Obama and then laughed. “Now we have what some are reading as a suggestion that somebody knock off Osama, uh Obama. Well, both, if we could,” she said. Trotta returned the next day with an apology, saying:
I am so sorry about what happened yesterday and the lame attempt at humor. I fell all over myself, making it appear that I wished Barack Obama harm or any other candidate, for that matter, and I sincerely regret it and apologize to anybody I have offended. It is a very colorful political season and many of us are making mistakes and saying things we wish we had not said.
Next: Give them a high “five” for their great ratings.
8. Loved: Hosts of The Five
One of Fox News’ biggest shows, The Five, is hosted by Jesse Watters, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Greg Gutfeld, Dana Perino, and Juan Williams. In early 2018, The Five was the fifth most-watched cable news show on TV, with 2.15 million viewers.
Next: This host was a top Fox News anchor for 14 years.
9. Loved: Greta Van Susteren
On the Record with Greta Van Susteren hit one of the top five most-watched cable news programs on Fox News. However, that didn’t prevent her abrupt removal from the network. She was one of their top anchors for 14 years, but after she attempted to renegotiate her contract, Fox News’ chairman Rupert Murdoch wasn’t pleased.
Van Susteren was planning to leave the network on her own accord, but Murdoch pulled her off the air without the chance to say goodbye. MSNBC gave Van Susteren another chance with a new show, For the Record with Greta. Van Susteren was booted from the network after only six months due to low ratings, and she was replaced by Ari Melber
Next: The most ‘delusional’ Fox News host.
10. Hated: Sean Hannity
During the second quarter of 2017, Hannity’s viewership brought in a solid 2.51 million. However, the return to the 9 p.m. time slot proved to work even better for Sean Hannity. In September 2017, Deadline reported that Hannity’s first week back at the primetime show averaged 3.5 million viewers with 713,000 viewers in the news demographic. Unfortunately, Hannity is one of the most controversial figures on the network and has even earned the title “most delusional Fox News host” for many incorrect and controversial statements he’s made.
Next: This show was rated No. 1 among its competitors.
11. Loved: The hosts of Outnumbered
With Andrea Tantaros, Harris Faulkner, and Sandra Smith as Outnumbered hosts, the talk show’s viewership has skyrocketed. In April 2016, it rated No. 1 among its competitors. Even though it airs during the day, Outnumbered racked up 1,642,000 total viewers and 305,000 in the 25-54 demographic during the first part of 2018.
Next: Fox News fired this once-loved host for alleged sexual harassment.
12. Hated: Bill O’Reilly
Once-popular host Bill O’Reilly led Fox News’ viewership ratings with The O’Reilly Factor, but he’s now better known for the sexual harassment charges against him. He was fired from Fox News in April 2017 after The New York Times “detailed his history of settling harassment claims,” according to Variety.
In October 2017, O’Reilly settled a sexual harassment lawsuit with Lisa Wiehl, a former Fox News legal analyst, in the amount of $32 million. The Times disclosed that Fox News originally signed O’Reilly back on one month after the settlement, with a renewed four-year contract for $100 million.
Next: You’ll likely recognize this popular host.
13. Loved: Martha MacCallum
Martha MacCallum co-anchored America’s Newsroom with Bill Hemmer from 2010 until she was appointed to The First 100 Days, which she hosted over Trump’s first 100 days in office. During the first quarter of 2017, her show gained the most viewership in Fox News history during the 7 p.m. weeknight time slot.
Once Trump’s first 100 days were up, so was her show. However, she was clearly well-received by her viewers, so Fox News gave her a new show during the same time slot, called The Story with Martha MacCallum. Viewership jumped 13% in total viewers to 2.04 million. It also jumped 39% in the age 25 to 54 demo to 398,000 viewers.
Next: Viewers don’t like this host, innocent or not.
14. Hated: Charles Payne
Political commentator Scottie Nell Hughes claimed Charles Payne raped her. After she came forward, she claimed the network retaliated against her, according to the New York Times. After the accusation went public, the network suspended Payne while it investigated. He later returned to the network. Payne’s lawyer said he “vehemently denies any wrongdoing and will defend himself vigorously against this baseless complaint.”
Next: This host was so popular he got more airtime.
15. Loved: Bret Baier
Special Report with Bret Baier “is so popular that Fox News recently added a Sunday version,” according to The Wrap. The viewership ratings reflect the popularity of the show, with 2.34 million tuning in during the second quarter of 2017.
Next: She’s become a go-to for interviews with Trump.
16. Loved: Ainsley Earhardt
Host Ainsley Earhardt has become a prominent name in the Fox News community. With a 60% approval rating on Ranker, she’s the “go-to for interviews with the president and his family,” according to Business Insider. In her career, Earhardt has co-hosted many Fox shows, including Fox and Friends. She also hosts her own segment, Ainsley Across America, during Hannity.
Next: This Fox News host barked up the wrong tree.
17. Hated: Steve Doocy
While speaking with Concerned Women for America CEO Penny Nance in 2015, Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy stated, “Are movies like the Disney smash hit about an ice queen and her sister empowering girls by turning our men into fools and villains? It would be nice for Hollywood to have more male figures in those kinds of movies.” Doocy should’ve attacked a less popular film. MSNBC fact-checked him with research showing only 28% of films had a female lead or co-lead, and only 2% of those films showed more female characters than males.
Next: Canada’s military is under siege from Fox News.
18. Hated: Greg Gutfeld
In response to Canadian lieutenant-general Andrew Leslie’s idea for Canada’s military to pull out of Afghanistan for a year, the Red Eye host said, “The Canadian military wants to take a breather to do some yoga, paint landscapes, run on the beach in gorgeous white capri pants.” He went on to say, “Isn’t this the perfect time to invade this ridiculous country? They have no army.”
Fox News issued an apology, saying Gutfeld “may have been misunderstood” and didn’t want to disrespect “the brave men, women and families of the Canadian military.”
Next: This host’s faithful fans stuck around through ups and downs.
19. Loved: Neil Cavuto
Fox host Neil Cavuto went on a three-month medical leave in 2016, but his viewers stuck around for his for his return. In October 2017, Cavuto went against a typical Fox News practice on Your World and directly called out Donald Trump’s behavior:
I know some admire a president who speaks his mind, but some of your tweets alone are making the people you need run for cover. It’s not that some of your ideas aren’t sound — they are. It’s that, increasingly, this erratic behavior is making me wonder whether you are.
Viewers appreciate Cavuto; Your World outperformed the most-watched prime-time counterpart on CNN.
Next: Fox News fired The Five co-host for racial discrimination.
20. Hated: Bob Beckel was fired for alleged racial discrimination
Bob Beckel reportedly stormed out of his office when a black IT worker came to service his computer and made an insensitive remark to him. The IT employee is one of nearly a dozen employees who filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the network. So Fox news promptly fired Beckel from his co-host job on The Five.
Next: Despite his controversial liberal opinions, viewers still love this host.
21. Loved: Shepard Smith
Many Fox News fans voice their distaste for Shepard Smith’s support of same-sex marriage, belief in climate change, and defense of CNN. Despite his liberal-leanings, Shepard Smith Reporting typically averages about 1.43 million total viewers. Smith must be doing something right; Fox renewed their deal with him in early 2018.
Next: This host got in trouble for making fun of shooting victims.
22. Hated: Laura Ingraham
The Ingraham Angle host tweeted that Parkland shooting survivor, David Hogg, was rejected by four colleges seemingly to embarrass him. “David Hogg Rejected By Four Colleges To Which He Applied and whines about it. (Dinged by UCLA with a 4.1 GPA…totally predictable given acceptance rates),” she wrote.
David Hogg responded by tweeting her show’s advertisers, many of whom later dropped out of her show. Ingraham apologized and announced a “vacation” from her series. She returned to the show several days later.
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Additional reporting by Ali Harrison and Bridget DeMeis