Fox News to Eric Burns: It's Not Us, It's You

Eric Burns
Photo: Courtesy of Fox News

The Fox News Channel fired longtime Fox News Watch moderator Eric Burns last week, saying that they wanted to take the show —a roundtable discussion about the national news media that airs weekly— in a new direction, mainly by focusing more on new media, like the Internet. You know. They wanted to expand their horizons. Play the field a little. Experiment. As you might imagine, Burns, who has been the loyal host of the show for ten years, took the breakup rather hard. Fox didn't know how to be happy, he told the Times today. It didn't even know what it wanted: “I don’t know because I don’t think anybody at Fox knows, except in general terms, that somehow they must catch up with new information sources,” he said. He added that it was actually kind of the network's fault that the relationship wasn’t working, that they had promised advertising that had never come through, and that was what contributed to the show's low ratings. “If that’s not evidence that they don’t want this show to be seen, I don’t know what it is,” he said. Fox begged to differ: I don't think so, a Fox network spokeswoman fired back, denying Burns's claims. Then they dug in the knife: Just so you know, Burns, the spokesperson added, the reason they wanted to see other people was that Burns just wasn't satisfying their needs anymore: "We didn’t feel the current talent would be capable of handling the new direction,” the spokeswoman told the Times. But Fox really can't blame Burns for pining for them. After all, they are kind of great. Probably the best Burns will ever have. It must be hard for him, you know? The spokeswoman added. “Not having a contributor agreement renewed is something that’s very difficult to accept.”

Moderator and a Panelist Ousted at ‘Fox News Watch’ [NYT]