Fox News has canceled Lou Dobbs Tonight and the pro-Trump host is not expected to return to the television news network’s airwaves, according to a Friday evening report.
The Los Angeles Times reports.
Dobbs’ program, which airs twice nightly at 5 and 7 p.m. Eastern on the Fox Business Network, will have its final airing Friday, according to a Fox News representative who confirmed the cancellation. Starting next week, the program will be called “Fox Business Tonight,” with rotating substitute hosts Jackie DeAngelis and David Asman, who filled in for Dobbs on Friday.
[P]eople familiar with discussions say the decision to end Dobbs’ program was under consideration before the legal issues with Smartmatic arose. (Fox News said it stands by its 2020 election coverage and will “defend this meritless lawsuit in court.”)
“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 obtained by the Times. “This is part of those planned changes. A new 5 p.m. program will be announced in the near future.”
Former President Donald Trump issued a statement on the cancelation of Dobbs’ show, saying: “Lou Dobbs is and was great. 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,” the former president added.
The sudden development comes after voting systems company Smartmatic filed a $2.7 billion defamation suit against Fox News and hosts Dobbs, Jeanine Pirro, and Maria Bartiromo. Smartmatic alleges that the network broadcasted falsehoods about the company that caused both financial and reputational damage. Dominion Voting Systems, another voting software system, recently sued Rudy Guiliani and Sidney Powell for $1.3 billion over their voter fraud claims.
Fox News maintains that the voting systems company’s claims against it are meritless.
Smartmatic is represented by J. Erik Connolly, who previously won what’s believed to be the largest settlement in American media defamation, at least $177 million, for a report on ABC News describing a company’s beef product as “pink slime.”
“Very rarely do you see a news organization go day after day after day against the same targets,” Connolly said in an interview. “We couldn’t possibly have rigged this election because we just weren’t even in the contested states to do the rigging.”
Fox, after receiving a demand for retraction from Smartmatic’s lawyers in December, aired what it called a “fact-checking segment” with an election technology expert. In the segment, the expert said there was no evidence of tampering — something the defendants knew from the start and reported elsewhere on the network, the complaint alleges.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.