Monday, 16 November 2020

Donald Trump's allies 'are considering buying right-wing Newsmax TV to compete with Fox News' as his fans desert the Murdoch-owned channel

 Allies of President Trump have considered acquiring and investing in conservative television network Newmax TV, which has championed the Commander-in-Chief and has yet to call the election for Joe Biden, report says.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Hicks Equity Firm, a private-equity firm linked to a co-chair of the Republican National Committee, has expressed interest in Newsmax as a competitor to Fox News. 

Newsmax has seen an uptick in viewership since Election Day, when some conservatives and Trump-loyalists became vexed that Fox News and other similar outlets named Joe Biden the president-elect. 


Based in West Palm Beach, Florida, where the Trump International Golf Course sits, Newsmax has rallied behind the President's Trump's unfounded claims of election fraud. 

Pictured: Presidnet Donald Trump
Pictured: Chairman and founder of Hicks Equity Firm, Thomas Hicks

The Wall Street Journal reports that allies of President Trump (left), including Hicks Equity Firm under founder Thomas Hicks (right), have expressed interest in acquiring Newsmax 

Newsmax TV is a pro-Trump, right-leaning conservative network based in West Palm Beach, Florida, and founded in 2014

Newsmax TV is a pro-Trump, right-leaning conservative network based in West Palm Beach, Florida, and founded in 2014

It's unclear how far along discussions between Hicks Equity and Newsmax are, The Journal reports, but Newsmax Media Chief Executive Chris Ruddy said no deals have been made.

'Newsmax never had any deal with the Hicks group, and if it’s true they were using our name for the purposes of capital fundraising, that is wholly inappropriate,' Ruddy told The Journal, adding that Newsmax has entertained several discussions over the years.

Meanwhile, Trump has continued to chip away at his on-again, off-again relationship with Fox News.

'[Fox News] daytime ratings have completely collapsed. Weekend daytime even WORSE,' wrote Trump on November 12.

'Very sad to watch this happen, but they forgot what made them successful, what got them there. They forgot the Golden Goose. The biggest difference between the 2016 Election, and 2020, was [Fox News]!' 

Trump tears into Fox News saying they cost him the election
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President Trump has renewed his attacks on Fox News after it called the election in Joe Biden's favor last week

President Trump has renewed his attacks on Fox News after it called the election in Joe Biden's favor last week


Trump's relationship with Fox News over four years has toggled between public admiration to commendation depending on how coverage strikes him.

His critique of Fox News after the Election has coincided with his recent lauding of Newsmax and One America News Network (OANN), a far-right and pro-Trump network.

'This is why daytime and weekend daytime have lost their ratings,' Trump wrote on Sunday, referring to a segment.

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.'

Trump urged his supporters to flock to other conservative networks like Newsmax TV and OANN

Trump urged his supporters to flock to other conservative networks like Newsmax TV and OANN

Joe Biden (pictured) was named the president-elect last week after states tallied votes in the  embattled 2020 election

Joe Biden (pictured) was named the president-elect last week after states tallied votes in the  embattled 2020 election 

For Newsmax to overtake Fox News, the leading cable network for years, it would need to steal a sizable chuck of its average 3.5million nightly viewers.

The Journal reports that Newsmax's average primetime audience leaped 156 per cent to 223,000 viewers during election week and surpassed one million viewers from 7pm to 8pm last Thursday - about half of Fox News' audience at that time.

Cable king Fox News averaged almost six million prime-time viewers during election week. 

Taking 20 per cent of Fox News's audience by 2024 could translate to around $200million in annual profit pulled from the company, media analyst Michael Nathanson told The Journal.

There have been reports that Trump has considered creating his own network, but The Journal reports that he is currently focused on potentially reversing election results.

Industry experts told The Journal that Trump could find a decent market if he were to pursue the venture, but it would likely be streaming and not at the scale of TV networks. 

'I think for someone like Trump it’s an easy million' subscribers, Chris Balfe, a partner at the digital media consulting firm Red Seat Ventures, told the publication.

If so, Trump could one day compete against Fox News' streaming service, Fox Nation. 

Hicks Equity Firm, led by Thomas Hicks, has reportedly sought to raise $200million to create more right-leaning media avenues. 

It would be part of a larger plan to build a network of conservative channels, and the firm reportedly had talked about buying out OANN. Those discussions have reportedly stalled in recent months, but is still considered a good target. 

Thomas Hicks's son, Thomas Hicks Jr., currently co-chairs the Republican National Committee and likely wouldn't participate in any deals while holding his position.

Pictured: Thomas Hicks Jr. (left), co-chairs the Republican National Committee, and President Trump (center)

Pictured: Thomas Hicks Jr. (left), co-chairs the Republican National Committee, and President Trump (center)

But already, The Journal reports that Hicks Equity Form has approached some Fox News standouts for their plans.

Megyn Kelly was reportedly approached earlier this year about a potential anchor position with OANN, but is said to have turned down the offer in favor of making her own media company.

Hicks Equity firm has also reportedly contacted conservative donors and media outlets about assembling a streaming site to knock Fox News off its center.

Newsmax TV was started in 2014 by Ruddy, a friend of Trump and member of the Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach.

Ruddy told The Journal that Newsmax has not yet called the election in Biden's favor and won't until states certify winners. 

Wall Street Journal reports that Hicks Equity Firm approached Magyn Kelly (pictured) about working for OANN if a successful acquisition is settled

Wall Street Journal reports that Hicks Equity Firm approached Magyn Kelly (pictured) about working for OANN if a successful acquisition is settled

Newsmax Media Chief Executive Chris Ruddy (picturd): 'My experience is, [Trump] will accept the result of the state certification. He may not be happy. I think he will support a smoother transition than what appears to be the case now

Newsmax Media Chief Executive Chris Ruddy (picturd): 'My experience is, [Trump] will accept the result of the state certification. He may not be happy. I think he will support a smoother transition than what appears to be the case now

After Fox News called Arizona for Biden, several White House aides and Jared Kushner, a senior White House adviser and the president’s son-in-law, called to contest the projection.

Kushner reportedly phoned Fox Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, who refused to back down.

 'If it’s that close, we should wait until the states certify before we as a media organization should project one or the other the winner,' Ruddy told The Journal. 

He added that despite the circus that has overtaken Capitol Hill since Election Day, Trump will likely concede. 

'My experience is, he will accept the result of the state certification. He may not be happy. I think he will support a smoother transition than what appears to be the case now.'      

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