The Fox News Primary For October: Trump Still Leads, While Fiorina Falls

Donald Trump on Fox News

Republican presidential hopeful and reality TV star Donald Trump yet again dominated his fellow contenders on Fox in the month of October, while Carly Fiorina's total time on the network fell dramatically.

Trump's October appearances on Fox News came to a total of 4 hours and 27 minutes, giving him more than a quarter of the total time given to all of the GOP candidates, which was 16 hours and 7 minutes in October over the course of 126 appearances. In fact, his time was 2 hours and 43 minutes more than the second place finisher, Sen. Rand Paul (who came in at only 1 hour and 44 minutes). Ben Carson came in third, just a few minutes behind Paul, at 1 hour and 37 minutes. On 10 of the 11 shows that hosted Trump, he also held the largest proportion of total time that each individual show devoted to the Republican candidates.

Trump has maintained the airtime lead since June, despite repeatedly feuding with the network. Last month he appeared on Fox 22 times, but none of those appearances were in studio. Instead, the majority of his interviews were via satellite or over the phone; he has given 35 out of the 46 total phone interviews on Fox for all candidates over the last six months.

Meanwhile, Carly Fiorina's time on Fox dropped dramatically in October. Though she received about an hour and a half of airtime in both August and September, last month she appeared on Fox only three times for a total of 19 minutes.

Appearances by GOP on Fox in Oct

Both George Pataki and Jim Gilmore, who are still running for president, had zero interviews on Fox in October. This is Pataki's second month in a row with zero interviews; since May, he has made only 12 appearances.

Jeb Bush received 8 appearances in October and 6 in September, up from his more typical 2 or 3 appearances per month earlier in the race. But his numbers still pale in comparison to Trump's, and his total number of appearances since May lags behind every other candidate except Gilmore and Pataki. 

Appearances May through October

Hannity maintained its lead among Fox shows for featuring the most candidate appearance time, with 3 hours and 15 minutes in October. Hannity has now featured a total of 19 hours and 59 minutes of candidate appearances from May through October.

Since May 1 through October, Republican presidential candidates have made a total of 699 Fox News appearances accounting for 91 hours and 16 minutes.

Shows in May

Shows May through October

The Numbers

Most Total Airtime In October: Donald Trump (4 hours and 27 minutes)

Most Total Appearances In October: Donald Trump (22 appearances)

Fox Show With The Most Total Candidate Airtime In OctoberHannity (3 hours and 15 minutes)

Fox Show With The Most Candidate Appearances In OctoberHannity (24 appearances)

Softball Question Of The MonthSean Hannity asked the following to Jeb Bush on October 29:

HANNITY: Do you think maybe in light of the battles you've had with Trump and this battle you had with Marco Rubio last night, that maybe what you're saying and describing and your record and your belief that you can advance that on a national stage as president -- do you think you're better off talking about those things than battling Trump and Marco?

Most Total Airtime Since May 1: Donald Trump (17 hours and 31 minutes)

Most Total Appearances Since May 1: Donald Trump (89 appearances)

Fox Show With The Most Total Candidate Airtime Since May 1Hannity (19 hours and 59 minutes)

Fox Show With The Most Candidate Appearances Since May 1Hannity (113 appearances)

Previous Fox Primary Reports

May 2015

June 2015

July 2015

August 2015

September 2015


For this study, we used's “2016 Presidential Candidate Watch List.” Jim Gilmore's inclusion in the study began after his formal announcement on July 30. Rick Perry's data extends until September 11, and Scott Walker's data extends until September 22, which is when each candidate respectively ended their campaigns. Any future appearances from these former candidates will not be included in this study.

Media Matters searched the Nexis database and our internal video archive for all guest appearances on Fox News Channel between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. and Fox News Sunday for the 15 presidential candidates in question: Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, and Donald Trump.

Beginning with the August report, Media Matters has collected appearances on weekend shows in addition to weekday shows and Fox News Sunday. All weekend data from May 1 onward is now included.

For programs where a transcript was unavailable, we reviewed the raw video.

Charts by Oliver Willis. Additional research by Media Matters' research staff.