The whispers surrounding the idea that President Trump could be making moves to create a direct competitor to Fox News are getting louder. President Trump has become increasingly critical of Fox News throughout his presidency, only to be exacerbated by the news channel prematurely calling Arizona for Joe Biden on Election Day. President Trump has even gone so far as to single out separate news sources in an effort to draw viers away from Fox.
This is why @FoxNews daytime and weekend daytime have lost their ratings. They are abysmal having @alfredenewman1 (Mayor Pete of Indiana’s most unsuccessful city, by far!) on more than Republicans. Many great alternatives are forming & exist. Try @OANN & @newsmax, among others! https://t.co/ewHE8GBRNy
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2020
One of those news stations has garnered more attention recently as reports have surfaced that a prominent Trump supporter is considering buying Newsmax. Hick Equity Partners, a private equity firm with ties to a co-chair of the Republican National Committee, has expressed interest in buying the pro-Trump cable news channel Newsmax TV. Newsmax launched in 2014 and is currently in over 70 million American homes, with ample space and opportunity to grow.
The effort is primarily being led by Thomas Hicks. Hicks is aiming to raise over $200 million to potentially buy a smaller news outlet and transform it into a media giant that can sap away Fox News viewers and revenue.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
Creating a television network to rival Fox News, which has led the cable-news ratings for years, is a longshot. Newsmax’s average prime-time audience jumped 156% to 223,000 viewers during the week of the election, according to Nielsen data, and last Thursday crossed one million from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., about half of Fox’s audience during the time period. Sustaining those gains when interest in the election subsides won’t be easy. Fox averaged nearly six million prime-time viewers during the week of the election, about 22% higher than the previous four weeks.
However, Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy, says that “we are not actively selling: and they are currently focused on maintaining their status as an independent news agency.
“Newsmax would never become ‘Trump TV,’” Christopher Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax, told Variety in an interview Sunday evening. “We have always seen ourselves as an independent news agency, and we want to continue with that mission. But we are open — [Trump] is going to be a political and media force after he leaves the White House, and we would be open to talking to him about a weekly show.” The executive also said “we are not actively selling” the company at this time, though he notes he has had expressions of interest from “investors, investment banks and strategic players” in the recent past.
Unlike many mainstream news outlets, Newsmax has yet to tell its viewers that Biden has won the election. “We are waiting for the states’ certification and the electoral college, but we will at some point when that happens,” says Ruddy. “We will be supportive of whoever the next president is.”
Ruddy says the company believes in its current business. “Newsmax is moderately conservative and we will continue to have a moderately conservative viewpoint on things — including the president.”
Fox Corp.’s CEO Lachlan Murdoch has welcomed the idea of a competitor to Fox News. “We love competition,” Mr. Murdoch said recently. “We thrive on competition. We have strong competition now.”