OLD Media Moves

Sexy vs. Grouchy at Fox Business

October 21, 2009

Felix Gillette of The New York Observer writes about the change at Fox Business Network from the attractive, young anchors and reporters that have domninated the airwaves during its two years to the recent additions of Don Imus, John Stossel and possibly Lou Dobbs.

Gillette writes, “In recessions, business consumers want sage knowledge, advice, expertise and experience. Grizzled wisdom becomes more attractive than tenderfooted exuberance. ‘People are looking for a way out,’ said Mr. Quittner. ‘They’re not buying, say, business magazines for the crossword puzzles or the pictures of pretty girls. They buy it because they want to make money. It’s very straightforward. What works is the opposite of sexy.’

“In recent months, in a series of high-profile moves, Fox Business executives have seemingly embraced that concept: the opposite of sexy.

“First, they added Don Imus, the resurrected radio host with no real expertise in business but with a loyal following of fans. Then, last month, they hired John Stossel, the 62-year-old investigative correspondent with a libertarian bent, away from his longtime home at ABC News. And recently, according to The New York Times, Lou Dobbs, the 64-year-old CNN anchor, was seen dining with Mr. Ailes, feeding speculation that he also will eventually join FBN. (The last opinionated anchor from the Time Warner Center who was reported to be seen dining with Mr. Ailes was Glenn Beck—who, shortly thereafter, joined Fox News.)

“If Ms. Smith, Connell McShane, and Jenna Lee are a type, so too are Mr. Imus, Mr. Stossel and Mr. Dobbs. To their fans, they are lovable grouches who covey a reassuring sense of hard-earned insight. If life has made them a touch cranky, it has also made them skeptical of snake-oil hustlers, tough on government scoundrels and unafraid of picking fights. They are 60-somethings, with independent streaks, who have seen bad times and fought their way through.”

Read more here.

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