Stuart Varney’s Fresh Approach to Business Television


Winning the war against CNBC

Stuart Varney at FOX Studios on August 5, 2011 in New York City / Getty Images

Stuart Varney is winning the war against CNBC.

Varney & Co. has trounced CNBC—the once-dominant channel Varney called his “principal competitor” in 2016—for three consecutive years in the ratings. For the British-born Fox Business host, the show’s success is attributable to much more than strong market coverage.

“We try to entertain, that’s what we try to do,” Varney told the Washington Free Beacon. “I think people have an enormous amount of choice, and I want to stand out. And I think you can stand out by being different, in the sense that you cover money, and politics, in a different, fast-paced kind of way.”

“I think that’s the basic reason for our success.”

That and the music. Varney & Co. routinely features modern, upbeat music throughout its three-hour program from artists like Rihanna and Justin Timberlake—hardly the selection one would expect from the show’s 71-year-old host. While Varney admitted he’d rather fill the program with classic rock, he recognizes the appeal of offering music “spread across the age spectrum.”

“With the music, we just want to be lively, upbeat, and positive, and we try to choose music that advances that,” said Varney. “Our producers go to great lengths to come up with age-appropriate music spread across the age spectrum.”

“I’m a Beatles guy, I’m a Stones guy, I wish I could play more Jimi Hendrix, but that’s not quite suitable always for my show, and I’m in love with Eric Clapton’s guitar playing,” Varney added. “But believe me, we have a much wider selection of music than just what I like.”

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