Fox Nation to Stream Original Docuseries ‘Jussie Smollett: Anatomy of a Hoax’

Fox News Media’s politically-themed subscription streaming video service Fox Nation will release an exclusive five-part docuseries “Jussie Smollett: Anatomy of a Hoax” on March 13.

The series will feature exclusive interviews with brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, who were part of an elaborate plot to perpetrate a staged hate crime on actor Jussie Smollett (“Empire”), but have never spoken to the media about their role in the hoax.

In January 2019, Smollett claimed to have been attacked on a Chicago street by two men who were said to have shouted “this is MAGA country” while beating hom and putting a noose around his neck. After an investigation, Chicago police uncovered that the attack was staged, and that Smollett had hired the Osundairo brothers to carry out the crime.

On March 10, 2022, Smollett, 39, was convicted on five felony counts for staging the hate crime, sentenced to 150 days in jail and reportedly ordered to pay $120,106 in restitution to the city of Chicago and a $25,000 fine. The actor, who could have been sentenced up to three years for each felony, was released after six days pending an appeal.

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Now, on the eve of the appeal, the series aims to chronicle the behind-the-scenes maneuvering and drama that turned the actor into a social pariah in some circles and a victim in others, leaving a trail of damaged careers and reputations.

“‘Anatomy of a Hoax’ takes a deep dive into a scam that reverberated through the worlds of entertainment, pop culture and politics,” John Finley, EVP of Fox Nation, said in a statement.

Developed by Pilgrim Media Group, the series is directed by Craig Piligian, Nicole Rittenmeyer, Nicholas Caprio, Scott Eldridge and Gloria Rodriguez.

Roseanne Barr Fights Back With Hit Fox Nation Comedy Special

Comic/TV star Roseanne Barr is back with a vengeance.

The Feb. 13 debut of Roseanne Barr: Cancel This! — the first stand-up show by the controversial comedian since her namesake hit TV show “Roseanne” and reputation were simultaneously canceled in 2018 following a tweet about Valerie Jarrett, the black former senior adviser to Barack Obama — is a hit with streamers on Fox News Media’s Fox Nation subscription VOD platform, according to the service.

The conservative-themed platform, which features Fox News personalities such as Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Brian Kilmeade, among others, said Barr’s first-day viewership topped Yellowstone: One-Fifty With Kevin Costner — Fox Nation’s most-watched show of 2022 about the National Park’s 150th anniversary.

A sidebar feature, “Who Is Roseanne Barr?,” was the second-most-watched program of the day, with more than 50% of the viewers on Fox Nation tuned in for the Roseanne Barr-themed content.

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Fox Nation, which launched in November 2018  as a companion to the Fox News Channel featuring opinion-based talk shows and documentaries, has never disclosed viewership metrics or revenue.

In the most-recent fiscal period, Fox said its “other” business segment, which includes Fox Nation, saw revenue increase 13% to $155 million from $145 million in the previous-year period — in part due to higher subscription streaming VOD revenue.

Fox Corp. Sees Q2 Uptick in Tubi Ad Revenue, Fox Nation SVOD Service Subscriptions

Fox Corp. Feb. 8  reported an 4% increase in second-quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2022) advertising revenue to $2.5 billion, from revenue of $2.4 billion in the previous-year period. The media giant attributed the gain in part to upticks in ad sales at Tubi, the company’s free ad-supported streaming TV and AVOD streaming platform, as well as the FIFA Men’s World Cup soccer tournament, strong NFL results at Fox Sports, and higher political advertising at the Fox television stations.

Fox, which acquired Tubi nearly three years ago for $440 million, along with some Wall Street analysts, contend the platform can generate $1 billion in standalone revenue this year.

Separately, Fox said its “other” business segment revenue increased 13% to $155 million, from $145 million, primarily due to the impact of the consolidation of entertainment production companies at the television segment and higher Fox Nation subscription streaming VOD revenue. The SVOD service was launched in 2018 as a companion to the Fox News Channel featuring opinion-based talk shows and documentaries.

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Fox has never disclosed Fox Nation subscriber numbers, with Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch two years ago saying he was more interested in the time subscribers spent on the platform.

“We’re purely interested in the amount of content they are consuming,” Murdoch said on the Q4 2021 fiscal call.