The conservative TV network Newsmax has attempted to poach several Fox News staffers with offers of higher salaries, according to Axios.
Two bookers — people who ensure TV show guests are available as quickly as possible — reportedly said they and others had been approached.
The news comes soon after Newsmax briefly eclipsed Fox News in a key ratings metric for the first time on Monday, according to Reuters.
It continues the intense competition between Fox — still the leading cable news network — and Newsmax’s brand of upstart, hyperpartisan pro-Trumpism.
Both Fox News and Newsmax declined to comment.
The upstart, arch-conservative network Newsmax is trying to woo several Fox News employees with offers of higher pay, according to Axios.
Two Fox News bookers told Axios that Newsmax had reached out to them, as well as several other staff members – most of whom are younger workers on lower salaries.
Bookers are crucial employees whose job it is to secure guests on shows as quickly as possible.
The two bookers who spoke to Axios said it was likely Newsmax wanted access to their extensive contacts.
Newsmax’s star is on the rise in the sphere of hyper-partisan support for President Donald Trump and his challenges to the 2020 election results.
In recent years, he has soured on his onetime favorite channel Fox News. He now frequently heaps praise on Newsmax and One America News Network, both of whom have recently made an aggressive play for his attention and followers by uncritically amplifying his baseless claims of election fraud.
The ties between Newsmax and Trump have grown in recent months.
Fox News still keeps largely pro-Trump opinion hosts like Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity front and center. But the channel had called the election for President-elect Joe Biden, and was among the first networks to call the state of Arizona for the Democrat – infuriating the president.
It also angered Fox’s audience, around 200 of whom chanted “Fox News Sucks!” outside Maricopa Election Center in Arizona last month.
Fox News has primed its audience for years to support Trump, in a gambit that has helped it maintain its place as by far the most-watched cable news channel in the US.
Since the election, it has largely maintained its lead, despite anger from some viewers.
Newsmax’s audience is much smaller, but has grown 68% since the election.
On Monday, the number of viewers aged 25 to 54 watching early-evening host Greg Kelly beat that of Fox News’ Martha McCallum for the first time, Reuters reported.
But McCallum had a larger total audience share nonetheless, Reuters reported, adding that Newsmax’s gains since the election may be fading.
Speaking about competition between networks at a UBS conference, Fox Corp Chief Financial Officer Steve Tomsic emphasized the financial heft – which Fox has – needed for a TV network to become profitable, according to Reuters.
“It’s not a small undertaking to try to compete at that level,” Reuters reported him saying.
Both Fox News and Newsmax declined to comment for this article.
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