Viewers of Fox Business are undoubtedly asking what happened to Lou Dobbs after the cable network abruptly canceled Lou Dobbs Tonight on Feb. 5, ending the commentator’s weekday TV show after nearly a decade.
What happened to Lou Dobbs?
For its part, Fox Business is claiming the cancellation is business as usual. “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 Fox News representative said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. “This is part of those planned changes. A new 5 p.m. program will be announced in the near future.”
But is that really the reason? After all, Lou Dobbs Tonight ranked as the network’s top-rated program and brought in more viewers than its CNBC competition, as The New York Times points out.
Why was 'Lou Dobbs Tonight' canceled?
The New York Times noted that the cancellation of Lou Dobbs Tonight came only a day after the election technology company Smartmatic filed a defamation suit against Fox Corporation and Fox News, seeking at least $2.7 billion in damages and claiming, in part, that Fox “joined the conspiracy to defame and disparage Smartmatic and its election technology and software.”
The suit names Dobbs as an individual defendant, along with Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro, two other Fox anchors. (In a statement to The New York Times, a Fox spokesperson called the lawsuit “meritless.”)
A source told the newspaper, however, that the network had concerns about Dobbs — and his endorsements of Donald Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud — even before the Smartmatic suit was filed. (Fox Business recently aired a fact-checking segment that refuted Dobbs’ claims.)
During his time on Lou Dobbs Tonight, Dobbs gave significant airtime to Trump lawyers Rudolph Giuliani and Sidney Powell, who are also defendants in the defamation suit.
And on Nov. 30, 2020, the TV host told Powell he believed Trump needed to take “drastic action, dramatic action to make certain that the integrity of this election is understood or lack of it, the crimes that have been committed against him and the American people,” per the Los Angeles Times. “And if the Justice Department doesn’t want to do it, if the FBI cannot do it, then we have to find other resources within the federal government.”
What will replace ‘Lou Dobbs Tonight’?
A new program called Fox Business Tonight will air in Lou Dobbs Tonight’s 5 p.m. EST time slot, with rotating substitute hosts Jackie DeAngelis and David Asman hosting the show, according to the Los Angeles Times. Asman also filled in for Dobbs on Friday’s episode of Lou Dobbs Tonight.
Dobbs, meanwhile, will likely not appear on Fox networks again, even though the commentator — who also made occasional appearances on Fox News — remains under contract with the company, according to the Los Angeles Times. In light of Lou Dobbs Tonight’s cancelation, the newspaper speculated that Fox News is trying to balance commentary and news to appeal to conservative viewers but not alienate its more moderate viewers.