Laura Ingraham takes a break next week. Now the question arises whether a controversy around the moderator will also take a break.
The popular Fox News Channel presenter – "Ingraham Angle" was the fourth most popular cable news program in February – told viewers on Friday night they would not be broadcasting next week as they were having them prepared as a break for the Easter break described to her children. It is expected that substitute hosts will fill them in for the program.
It's in the middle of increased control. Ingraham broke up on Wednesday with a Twitter post about Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school student David Hogg, who has been missing over 1
Ingramam apologized Thursday via Twitter and commented that she was sorry for "any surprise or injury my tweet caused him or any of Parkland's valiant victims." She invited the student to her program. Hogg said he would not accept her apology.
Many advertisers seemed to stay away from the program on Friday. The only blue-chip advertiser to appear during the one-hour broadcast was IBM. Otherwise, many sponsors were direct response advertisers such as MyPillow.com or lesser known companies like the American Petroleum Institute, Interstate Batteries and KT Tape. Fox News also filled commercial breaks with promos for hosts like Bret Baier, or the morning-morning team of Bill Hemmer and Sandra Smith.
Her Friday announcement drew eerie parallels with another Fox News host who came under the microscope. Last April, Bill O. Reilly announced a planned vacation in the midst of an even bigger controversy shortly before the Easter weekend. Advertisers moved advertisements to another location on the network after a New York Times revealed detailed allegations of sexual harassment against the host, who was the linchpin of Fox News' prime time cast at that time. He never returned to the air and fired eight days later in a letter signed by the three members of the Murdoch family, most actively in Fox News's 21st Century Fox parent company: Rupert Murdoch, Lachlan Murdoch and James Murdoch
There is no indication that Fox News executives want Ingraham to stay out of thin air. Their program has been seamlessly integrated into a primetime line-up that was recalibrated last autumn and is now accompanied by programs anchored by two other female presenters, Martha MacCallum and Shannon Bream. Ingraham, a longtime contributor to the network, built her own audience with her long-standing radio program.
Fox News works with advertisers, says one person who is familiar with the network's advertising strategy and is picking up sponsors who want to move advertising elsewhere, but also a long-term view of the program and its affiliation with Madison Avenue. In February, "The Ingraham Angle" reached an average of more than 2.6 million viewers, according to Nielsen. Only Fox News "Hannity" and "Tucker Carlson Tonight" and MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" attracted more viewers this month. With this size of audience and followers – Ingraham is also a longtime radio host – advertisers may find their program hard to ignore in the future.
Ingraham has not addressed the social media controversy over air and avoided the subject on Friday night program. The program was billed as "Special," and Ingramam dedicated the episode to segments that explored "Trump's Cultural Wars". Upon her return to the Fox News series, it will turn out that she is trapped in one of them.