Fox Business Network viewers may have seen the last of conservative talk host Lou Dobbs after the cable network canceled his show, “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” on Friday.
It would be an unceremonious ending for Dobbs, 75, one of Fox Business Network’s highest-profile personalities and one of the strongest supporters of former President Donald Trump in cable news.
The cancellation comes one day after Fox News and three of its hosts, Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro, were sued for $2.7 billion by a voting-technology company that claims they conspired to spread false claims that the company helped “steal” the presidential election.
Fox News Media issued a statement that made no mention of the lawsuit by the company, Smartmatic USA, referencing instead an October announcement that program changes were in the offing after the election.
“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 – this is part of those planned changes. A new 5 p.m. program will be announced in the near future,” the statement said.
Last month, Fox News added an hour of opinion programming at 7 p.m. EST, shifting Martha MacCallum’s show to 3 p.m. EST, a time when fewer people are watching. Fox’s 8-11 p.m. EST prime-time lineup of opinion personalities attracts its strongest ratings.
For next week, Dobbs’ 5 p.m. EST time slot, which will be renamed “Fox Business Tonight” in the interim, will be filled by substitute hosts Jackie DeAngelis on Monday and Tuesday and David Asman on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. It will repeat at 7 p.m. EST, as Dobbs’ show did.
Dobbs remains under contract at Fox News, but he likely will not be seen on any of the company’s networks again, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Dobbs’ last appearance on his Fox Business Network show was Thursday. He made no mention of the Smartmatic USA lawsuit that was filed earlier in the day.
Fox News Media, in a statement Thursday on behalf of the network and its hosts, rejected the accusations in the lawsuit, saying it stands by its 2020 election coverage and will “defend this meritless lawsuit in court.”
Smartmatic’s participation in the 2020 election was restricted to Los Angeles County, which votes heavily Democratic. But Fox aired at least 13 reports falsely stating or implying the company had stolen the national 2020 vote in cahoots with Venezuela’s socialist government, according to the complaint.
The company says the hosts perpetuated lies and disinformation that damaged Smartmatic’s business and reputation. In December, Smartmatic sent a letter threatening legal action to Fox and two other networks popular with Trump supporters, Newsmax and One America News Network.
In December, a nearly two-minute taped fact-checking segment aired on Dobbs’s show and on Fox News Channel shows hosted by Bartiromo and Pirro. The segment featured Eddie Perez, a voting technology expert at the nonpartisan Open Source Election Technology Institute.
“I have not seen any evidence that Smartmatic software was used to delete, change or alter anything related to vote tabulations,” Perez said in the segment.
Dobbs, who has been at Fox since 2011, has long been one of the network’s most pro-Trump on-air champion, especially of his economic and immigration policies. His provocative views on immigrants helped lead to his departure in 2009 from CNN, where he was an award-winning pioneer in TV business news.
In the weeks after the election, Dobbs repeatedly attacked the Republicans for not doing enough to support Trump’s claims that the election was rigged in favor of Biden.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fox Business Network cancels ‘Lou Dobbs Tonight,’ one of its highest-profile shows