Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy insists he is not ‘actively’ looking to sell the conservative TV channel, and says it will never become an outlet dedicated to Donald Trump, despite rumors that allies of the president are looking at buying the news agency.
‘Newsmax would never become “Trump TV”,’ Ruddy assured in an interview with Variety on Sunday. ‘We have always seen ourselves as an independent news agency, and we want to continue with that mission.’
However, Ruddy said Newsmax would ‘be open’ to the idea of giving Trump his own weekly show on the channel after he leaves office on January 20.
‘He’s going to be a political and media force after he leaves the White House,’ Ruddy added.
Ruddy said he is not ‘actively’ looking to sell the company, but said a number of ‘investors, investment banks and strategic players’ had all expressed interest in buying it.
‘Newsmax would never become “Trump TV”,’ Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy assured in an interview with Variety. ‘We have always seen ourselves as an independent news agency, and we want to continue with that mission’
However, Ruddy said Newsmax would ‘be open’ to talking with Trump about the possibility of him heading up a weekly show on the channel after he leaves office on January 20.
The CEO’s comments come after Hicks Equity Partners, an investment firm connected to the Republican National Committee, was said to be weighing up a move of acquiring and investing in Newsmax, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.
The intention behind the move would be to set up Newsmax as a direct competitor to Fox News.
Newsmax has seen an uptick in viewership since Election Day, when some conservatives and Trump-loyalists became vexed that Fox and other similar outlets named Joe Biden the president-elect.
Based in West Palm Beach, Florida, where the Trump International Golf Course sits, Newsmax has supported Trump throughout the election and rallied behind the President’s unfounded claims of election fraud.
In turn, Trump has re-posted a number of TV channel’s clips on his Twitter page, while often simultaneously admonishing Fox.
Ruddy told Variety : ‘Our main focus is continuing: We would like to overtake Fox News in the next 12 months, and I think it’s do-able,’ Ruddy added.
Among Newsmax’s on-air personalities is former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicier, the first to hold the role under the Trump administration
Ruddy (shown with Lindsey Graham at Mar-A-Lago) told Variety that he is not ‘actively’ looking to sell the company, but said a number of ‘investors, investment banks and strategic players’ had all expressed interest in buying it
Trump urged his supporters to flock to other conservative networks like Newsmax TV and OANN
For Newsmax to overtake Fox News, which has been the leading cable network for several years, it would need to steal a sizable chunk of its average 3.5million nightly viewers.
The Journal reported that Newsmax’s average primetime audience leaped 156 percent to 223,000 viewers during election week and surpassed one million viewers from 7pm to 8pm last Thursday – about half of Fox News’ audience at that time.
Newsmax TV is a pro-Trump, right-leaning conservative network based in West Palm Beach, Florida, and founded in 2014
Cable king Fox News averaged almost six million prime-time viewers during election week.
Taking 20 percent of Fox News’s audience by 2024 could translate to around $200million in annual profit pulled from the company, media analyst Michael Nathanson told The Journal.
There have been reports that Trump has considered creating his own network, but The Journal reports that he is currently focused on potentially reversing election results.
Hicks Equity Firm, led by Thomas Hicks, has reportedly sought to raise $200million to create more right-leaning media avenues.
It would be part of a larger plan to build a network of conservative channels, and the firm reportedly had talked about buying out OANN. Those discussions have reportedly stalled in recent months, but is still considered a good target.
Thomas Hicks’s son, Thomas Hicks Jr., currently co-chairs the Republican National Committee and likely wouldn’t participate in any deals while holding his position.
Ruddy told Variety he has so far has no deal with Hicks Sr. regarding a buy-out, though said the pair do often talk.
‘I have spoken to him on and off through the past three years, because we travel in political and social circles. It’s nothing unusual for us to have a conversation,’ he said.
The Wall Street Journal reports that allies of President Trump (left), including Hicks Equity Firm under founder Thomas Hicks (right), have expressed interest in acquiring Newsmax
Pictured: Thomas Hicks Jr. (left), co-chairs the Republican National Committee, and President Trump (center)
But already, The Journal reports that Hicks Equity Form has approached some Fox News standouts for their plans.
Megyn Kelly was reportedly approached earlier this year about a potential anchor position with OANN, but is said to have turned down the offer in favor of making her own media company.
Hicks Equity firm has also reportedly contacted conservative donors and media outlets about assembling a streaming site to knock Fox News off its center.
Newsmax TV was started in 2014 by Ruddy, a friend of Trump and member of the Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach.
Ruddy told The Journal that Newsmax has not yet called the election in Biden’s favor and won’t until states certify winners.
After Fox News called Arizona for Biden, several White House aides and Jared Kushner, a senior White House adviser and the president’s son-in-law, called to contest the projection.
Kushner reportedly phoned Fox Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, who refused to back down.
Ruddy, meanwhile, has said that Newsmax will be ‘supportive of whoever the next president is.’
‘Newsmax is moderately conservative and we will continue to have a moderately conservative viewpoint on things — including the president,’ Ruddy said.