This reporting is featured in this week’s edition of Confider, the newsletter pulling back the curtain on the media. Subscribe here and send your questions, tips, and complaints here.
Newsmax, which has spent all day Monday in absolute glee over Tucker Carlson’s Fox ouster, could be shaking things up again real soon.
The pro-Trump cable channel recently said goodbye to Sean Spicer after three years, replacing his late-afternoon show with a new offering from Carl Higbie, an even more stridently MAGA firebrand. With the far-right channel recently making nice with DirecTV and regaining a footprint in 13 million cable households, Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy is now looking to replace one of the network’s primetime shows with a The Five-style roundtable program, multiple sources told Confider.
Prime News hosted by Jenn Pellegrino is the most likely program on the chopping block, according to a source familiar with the matter. Pellegrino’s show, which she previously co-anchored with ex-Trump adviser Steve Cortes until his departure in late 2021, has long struggled to build an audience in the 9 p.m. time slot. Last month, for instance, she averaged 95,000 total viewers, finishing tenth on the little-watched channel.
Network staffers noted that Ruddy has become very interested in panels lately and wants to make primetime changes. One name that has been floated about as the lead host for this primetime panel show is former CNN correspondent-turned-conservative radio host Chris Plante.
After Confider began sniffing out this story, a Newsmax spokesperson preemptively emailed a statement: “Newsmax is testing a number of shows, as we regularly do, and it would be a mistake to claim we are officially making any program changes at this time.”
Plante did not respond to repeated requests for comment, but shortly after Confider reached out a third time, the Newsmax spokesperson sent the same statement—despite Plante not appearing to be an official Newsmax employee.