Then there is the technical snafus. The Wednesday episode of “Greg Kelly Reports” opened with a blank screen. After 12 seconds the host appeared in the middle of a monologue.
None of that has stopped Mr. Kelly from attracting an audience roughly four times the size of CNBC’s Shepard Smith, a former Fox News host whose heavily promoted new program airs at 7pm.
Fox News, which has benefited hugely from Mr. Trump’s rise, easily beats Newsmax in overall viewership. But ever since the network started calling the race for Mr. Biden, Trump supporters have “Fox News sucks!” at demonstrations in Arizona and Washington, and its ratings have fallen well below pre-election levels.
Much of the decline has occurred during the day as news anchors acknowledge Mr Biden’s victory. But some Fox News opinion broadcasts have also seen a decline: earlier this month, Fox & Friends drew a smaller weekly audience than MSNBC’s Morning Joe for the first time in 19 years.
The loss of viewers has raised alarm bells on Fox News, said several people with connections to the network who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid overloading relationships. A new slogan promoting its pro-Trump opinion hosts – “Stand up for what is right” – is now in heavy rotation.
“There’s a lot of dissatisfaction with Fox News in conservative circles,” said Nicole Hemmer, a Columbia University scholar who studies right-wing media.
The tensions have had an impact on Fox News programming. In “The Five,” Geraldo Rivera attacked a pro-Trump colleague, Jesse Watters, for advocating unsubstantiated claims about a stolen election. On prime-time, Tucker Carlson questioned the claims made by Sidney Powell, a Trump attorney, saying she had provided no evidence of election fraud. But over the next hour, Mr. Hannity invited another Trump attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani, to share his unsubstantiated claims with viewers.