It’s the one morning show that gets the president’s attention, and he’s not alone. “Fox & Friends” has become a cable news staple in the cable network firmament — and it’s something that drives a lot of other media outlets crazy.
Here are five facts you need to know about the morning show that has the attention of the White House:
Fact 1: The show, in various forms, has been with the network since the beginning.
The show actually began as “Fox X-Press” (very ’90s with that X), but it was rebranded in 1998 as Fox News made its way to the front of the ratings heap. In fact, Steve Doocy has been with the program for 20 years as of 2018 and Brian Kilmeade for 21.
As for their female co-host over the years, that’s certainly changed depending on what year it was. Elizabeth Hasselbeck is probably the most famous of the co-hosts, but that doesn’t mean that current co-host Ainsley Earhardt has any less of a fan following. Gretchen Carlson has also done hosting duties on the show.
Much like other programs on the network, it originates from the Manhattan studios of Fox News at 1211 Avenue of the Americas. The show also airs on the weekends, when Abby Huntsman and Pete Hegseth take over hosting duties. In addition, for early risers, “Fox & Friends First” begins at 4 a.m. and runs two hours until the regular show starts at 6 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.
Fact 2: It’s at the top of the cable news morning show ratings, and that hasn’t changed in a long while.
In fact, it hasn’t changed for almost 200 months — if it stays on top through the month of June, according to Adweek, that would put it at the 200 mark. That’s even longer than Fox News’ cable dominance, albeit just barely.
In May 2018, “Fox & Friends” had 1.58 million average total viewers and 339,000 in the 25-54 demographic, which is the most coveted-after by advertisers. “Morning Joe” on MSNBC had 1.09 million total and 238,000 in the 25-54 demographic. “New Day” on CNN finished last with 535,000 thousand total and 186,000 in the 25-54 demographic.
Fact 3: Its most famous viewer is the most powerful man in the world.
What morning show the president prefers isn’t usually a matter of debate. During the Trump administration, however, any sort of media debate has taken on a special significance.
Then again, President Trump’s relationship with the media during his time in the White House has been the subject of much speculation by the media itself, particularly given his tendency to call out stories or networks he believes to be biased as “fake news.” This has led to an adversarial relationship with much of the media, including even some hosts on Fox News.
That adversarial relationship hasn’t carried over to “Fox & Friends,” however, including calls into the morning show during his time in office. Arguably the most famous of these happened in April of 2018 when Trump called into the show after the FBI’s raid on his lawyer Michael Cohen’s office. During the call, Trump acknowledged for the first time that he was represented by Cohen in obtaining a non-disclosure agreement from Stormy Daniels. He also used the call to defend his nominee to head Veterans Affairs, Ronny Jackson (Jackson would withdraw later that day amid allegations — most from Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat — that Jackson had acted inappropriately on the job, including drinking and overprescribing medications). “These are all false accusations. These are false. They are trying to destroy a man,” the president told the program’s hosts.
“Suddenly, for no other reason than its No. 1 fan, it is the most powerful TV show in America,” The New York Times said about “Fox & Friends” back in July of 2017. This prompted a Twitter response from the president.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 27, 2017
Fact 4: Perhaps unsurprisingly, this has engendered a bit of a media backlash.
Any show on Fox News is bound to cause some consternation in the mainstream media, but this disagreement has taken on a more pitched tenor when it comes to “Fox & Friends.” That began during the Obama administration, and particularly during the 2012 campaign when The New York Times ran a piece discussing how the show had become “a powerful platform for some of the most strident attacks on President Obama.”
Other headlines of a more recent vintage include “I’ve Studied the Trump-Fox Feedback Loop for Months. It’s Crazier Than You Think” (Politico) and “We analyzed 17 months of Fox & Friends transcripts. It’s far weirder than state-run media” (Vox). John Oliver, host of “Last Night Tonight,” has said that “we would genuinely be better off if Trump was getting daily briefings from an actual fox and his friends, a hedgehog and a weasel with his head stuck in a tin can.”
In other words, it’s not exactly a favorite of either the legacy media or liberal pundits.
Fact 5: There are much lighter aspects to the “Fox & Friends” lineup, it must be noted.
In fact, the show is probably a lot closer to network morning shows than either “Morning Joe” or “New Day,” with frequent person on the street interviews and plenty of friendly banter between the hosts, often about topics like viral videos or what’s happening on Main Street, U.S.A. Traveling host Todd Piro’s visits to diners, in fact, are one of the highlights of the program.
Another highlight is the summer concert series, which is back again in 2018. Featured artists include Lynyrd Skynyrd, Lee Greenwood (from the deck of the USS Intrepid, no less), MercyMe, TobyMac, 3 Doors Down and former Creed frontman Scott Stapp.
It’s been an eventful 20 years for “Fox & Friends,” and given the strength of the brand, it looks like there’s a good chance they’ll still be around for another 20 years. Presidents may come and go, but one thing’s for certain: you probably won’t see a return for “Fox X-press.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.