In keeping with a monthslong trend, the exodus of advertisers from Tucker Carlson’s prime-time Fox News program continued this month.
Over the last year, dozens of advertisers, including Pacific Life, Farmers Insurance and SodaStream, have distanced themselves from Mr. Carlson, the host who caused an uproar with his recent on-air comments on white supremacy days after the mass shooting in El Paso. In the past two weeks, smaller companies, like the meditation app Calm and the online lending start-up SoFi, joined them.
The first wave of desertions came in December, when dozens of companies, including IHOP, Ancestry.com and TD Ameritrade, said they would stop advertising on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” after he said that the arrival of certain immigrants “makes our own country poorer and dirtier and more divided.”
More companies removed their ads from the show in March, when Media Matters for America, a liberal advocacy group, published years-old excerpts from the “Bubba the Love Sponge” shock-jock radio show featuring Mr. Carlson making offensive comments about women.
The Monday episode of “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” the host’s first since he left the airwaves for what Fox News said was a planned vacation two days after making the remarks on white supremacy, had fewer commercials than usual.
There were spots for turmeric drink mixes, ear wash systems and cup-holder mounts for smartphones, as well as ads for Dyson, Raymour & Flanigan and USAA, but none for products from SoFi, Calm or SteinMart. Those companies advertised on the program earlier this summer but said in statements in recent days that their commercials would not appear during Mr. Carlson’s nightly hour.
A Monday night episode from one year ago, the broadcast of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Aug. 20, 2018, had 16 minutes of ads, with 38 commercials that aired across the nation, according to iSpot.tv, the television ads measurement company. The Monday night episode this week, by contrast, had 13.5 minutes of commercials, with 23 nationally aired spots. Eight of the 23 were promotions for other Fox properties.
Mr. Carlson still attracts a large audience. He drew 3.1 million viewers on Monday night, the second-largest audience in all of cable that night. That number put him close behind his Fox News colleague Sean Hannity, according to Nielsen. But that has not been enough for the show to hang on to many advertisers.
A total of 218 companies had commercials during episodes of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” during last year’s second quarter, a group that included Liberty Mutual, Capital One and Subaru, according to the ad-tracking firm Kantar Media. For the same time period this year, the number of companies whose ads ran during the show was down to 107. The average amount of paid commercial time during episodes of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” has also declined.
Last summer, “Tucker Carlson Tonight” generated nearly 18 percent of Fox News’ advertising revenue, according to iSpot.tv. A year later, the show accounts for 13 percent of advertising revenue.
In recent months, as the host’s statements about women, immigrants and race have prompted calls from activists for advertiser boycotts, the total time allotted to commercials has grown even shorter as the show has pulled in a smaller portion of advertising revenue for Fox News, according to iSpot.tv. But many of the companies that have pulled their ads from “Tucker Carlson Tonight” have stuck with the network, citing long-term contracts and advertising strategies meant to be apolitical.
On his Aug. 6 episode, Mr. Carlson said that white supremacy was “actually not a real problem in America” and likened it to a “hoax” and a “conspiracy theory used to divide the country and keep a hold on power.”
A few days earlier, a white Texas man killed 22 people and wounded dozens more at a Walmart in El Paso. An online screed posted by the suspect, who has confessed to the crime, according to the authorities, echoed language used by Mr. Carlson and other right-wing media personalities who have described the arrival of immigrants at the southern border of the United States as an “invasion.” When Mr. Carlson returned to his show on Monday after more than a week off, he did not address the reaction to his comments.
MyPillow, a pillow manufacturer based in Minnesota, represents nearly a third of advertising spending on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” according to iSpot.tv, and it has spent more than $28 million advertising on the show in the past year. Over the same period, Sandals Resort has spent over $2 million on ads that appeared on the show.
Fox News expects record levels of ad revenue this year, Jeff Collins, the network’s executive vice president for advertising sales, said in a statement.
Companies tend to buy blocks of television advertising time long before their commercials are broadcast, locking themselves into contracts. Companies that ask to pull their commercials from certain shows, such as “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” are moved to other Fox News programs.
Mike Lindell, MyPillow’s chief executive and a frequent champion of President Trump, said over email that he advertised on most major cable and national news networks. “When it comes to national cable news programs, you just never know what someone is going to say,” he said. “If I pulled my advertising every time a host on any network said something I or others didn’t agree with, there would be no place to advertise.”
Last year, companies including Hulu and Wayfair removed advertisements from Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show after she ridiculed David Hogg, a student survivor of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting. Since then, the percentage of advertising revenue from her show has increased.