It started on Tuesday, when Andrea Tantaros was a no-show on Outnumbered. As her absences from Fox News continued, people started to wonder what was up. TV Newser got a tip and Chris Ariens, a savvy and tenacious Cable Gamer, published the response from Fox News explaining it as issues “regarding her contract.” The source ominously added that FNC “determined” she needed some time off.
This ignited a wave of online speculation, and you can find all sorts of theories, conspiracy and otherwise, on the internet:
- The Kincannon Show: She’s being punished for “not being a raving Trump hater.”
- News Foxes: Fox News Channel FIRES Andrea Tantaros For Supporting THIS Presidential Candidate
- PumaByDesign: There are rumors that Karl Rove and Dana Perino don’t want her contract renewed.
That last appears to be based on nothing whatsoever beyond a tweet from one Josh Cornett saying “many have speculated” this (we haven’t found anyone who has, other than Josh Cornett).
The Cable Gamer can’t say exactly what happened with Andrea T. or when she’ll be back. But there are some clues in the things we do know:
- TV Newser noted Tantaros was scheduled to call in to Bill Cummingham’s show, but cancelled.
- Fox’s statement goes out of its way to note that she is “still under contract with the network.”
- Her exile from Fox News began on the same day her book was published.
- Outnumbered did a two year anniversary show that never mentioned her, either on air or during the web-based “overtime” segment.
- Tantaros is running silent on this matter, ignoring all questions on the subject.
- Contract employees are usually permitted to promote books on other channels and broadcast outlets. But Andrea Tantaros has done no on-air promotion for her book that we know of, cancelling at least one scheduled appearance.
The Cable Gamer thinks it’s no coincidence that Andrea’s forced vacation began the same day her book promotions were supposed to start. She has a reputation for being feisty, maybe even a little pushy (she managed to promote herself from the gaggle of rotating Outnumbered panelists to a permanent role, on a par with journalists Harris Faulkner and Sandra Smith). Yet she has been uncharacteristically quiet, both on social media and in promoting her book. (Harper Collins can’t be pleased to see the premiere week go down the drain without any detectable on-air publicity.) Since Andrea was reminded she is “still under contract with the network” that could mean Fox decided not to give her the customary waiver to promote her book on other outlets. Surely she would be doing promotional appearances if she had permission.
All of this suggests a big blow-up between Andrea Tantaros and the Fox News powers that be—maybe involving the promotion of the book. Apparently it escalated into a confrontation with The Wrong Person, because the result is that Andrea Tantaros has effectively been a non-person at FNC for four days running. This is not typical of how Fox News handles internal conflicts. The Cable Gamer has a feeling we’re only seeing the tip of this iceberg, and things may not end well for Andrea Tantaros.
UPDATE: The Cable Gamer has learned that Andrea Tantaros has cancelled several radio interviews, not just the one with Bill Cunningham.
UPDATE 2: Andrea Tantaros has spoken out, sort of, about this controversy. See our follow-up post.