The Slatest

Fox Business Abruptly Cancels Lou Dobbs’ Show After Smartmatic Lawsuit

Lou Dobbs speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center February 24, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland.
Lou Dobbs speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center February 24, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Fox Business has decided it no longer wants to air its highest-rated show. And it made the cancelation with little warning as it announced Friday that as of next week Lou Dobbs will no longer have his weekday show, which had a bigger audience than its CNBC rival. Dobbs, one of former President Donald Trump’s most staunch supporters in the media, had spent lots of time on his show touting the election fraud lies that remain popular among some allies of the previous administration. Even as many started to tone down their language, Dobbs kept attacking Republican Party leaders for their lack of support to Trump.

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Dobbs didn’t get a chance to say farewell to his viewers on air as Fox News Media made the announcement Friday, when a guest host filled in for him. Dobbs is still under contract with Fox News and while he did occasionally show up on Fox News as a pundit, he isn’t likely to appear on the company’s networks again, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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Dobbs’ show, Lou Dobbs Tonight, aired twice every evening at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Eastern. As of next week the show will be called Fox Business Tonight. Dobbs’ show was canceled a day after election technology company Smartmatic filed a defamation lawsuit against Fox Corporation and Fox News seeking damages of at least $2.7 billion. The lawsuit specifically names Dobbs along with two other Fox anchors, Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro, and accuses them of spreading lies about the company’s role in the election. Dobbs, according to the lawsuit, was “one of the primary proponents” of a “disinformation campaign” against Smartmatic.

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Despite the timing, network sources tell several outlets that the network had already planned to cancel Dobbs before the lawsuit. Officially, Fox News says it stands by its coverage and will defend itself against the lawsuit. “As we said in October, Fox News Media regularly considers programming changes and plans have been in place to launch new formats as appropriate post-election, including on Fox Business,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “This is part of those planned changes.” Even though he had a highly rated shows, it had trouble appealing to advertisers because companies didn’t want to be associated with the far-right views Dobbs espoused on his show. That weakness with advertisers was also a reason to nix Dobbs’ show, according to CNN.

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Shortly after news broke of Dobbs’ cancelation, Trump expressed his support in what was one of the first statements he has released since leaving the White House. “Lou Dobbs is and was great,” Trump said. “Nobody loves America more than Lou. He had a large and loyal following that will be watching closely for his next move, and that following includes me.” Dobbs thanked Trump for his support and retweeted several allies who criticized Fox for the cancelation.

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