08 January 2020 16:35

AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): Pete, I know we are prepared to hit 52 targets, the president has said.

STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): So Pete, when you were with us yesterday, we knew something was going to happen because they said they are going to have fierce revenge. PETE HEGSETH (FOX & FRIENDS WEEKEND CO-HOST): Yeah. Listen, they are not as capable as they want the world to believe they are. They want something to sell for internal propaganda. None of this though changes the calculation of this regime, which is an evil regime.

They want to export it. So when I hear talk about, well now it's time to get back to the table and talk, I say they need to come back to the table for talks on their nuclear capabilities. And not because people like me want to escalate, the president has played this perfectly, he's played it being careful and cautious. HEGSETH: Sometimes have you moments, Steve. And I happen to believe that we can't kick the can down the road any longer in trying to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear bomb.

They used the killing of Soleimani as an excuse to say, "we're scrapping the Iran deal." We all know they were scrapping it anyway, so what better time than now to say, we're starting the clock, you've got a week, you've got X amount of time before we start taking out your energy production facilities. We take out your missile sites. We take out nuclear developments. DOOCY: That is not a popular idea. HEGSETH: We take out port capabilities. Or, you know what, take out a Quds headquarters while you're at it, if you want. I understand that's not a popular idea. But Iran has been in endless war with us for 40 years. Either we put up and shut up now and stop it, or we kind of wait, go back to the table, and let them dither while they attempt to continue to develop the capabilities to do precisely what they said they want to do. So either we--we're honest about the nature of this regime, or I think we miss a moment. So I think it's been played well so far, but we should keep the initiative on our side, as opposed to trying to just tit-for-tat react to something they'll continue to keep doing, they always have. AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): Pete, I know we are prepared to hit 52 targets, the president has said. Maybe if there were casualties, but because they're not, maybe the mission will change? But what do you know about these cultural sites, because we're not supposed to be hitting cultural sites, but I understand, I've been hearing that we believe that the Iranians are hiding missiles and weapons in some of these cultural sites, churches, or mosques. Human shields, using mosques, using, you know, hospitals, schools. Now, that doesn't mean we go on and target cultural sites. But what it means is we are clear-eyed about how our enemies use the rules that we write against us. And if we want to defeat them--this is, having seen it--if we want to defeat them, we have to think smart about how these rules--how we navigate within these rules without playing a game that's rigged to help them so that we can't win. If we're going to fight to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear bomb, this regime, then we need to rewrite the rules that are advantageous to us. I don't want to hit cultural sites on purpose, but if you're using one to harbor your most dangerous weapons, then that should be on the target list, too. BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): And the president did kind of back off that. After 2019's lowest-scoring Super Bowl ever, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is hoping for a viewership uptick this year on all platforms, including digital. CBS raked in as much as $17 million in digital revenue in 2019 and Fox has sold out ad inventory quicker than ever. When Fox Sports coverage of Super Bowl LIV kicks off Feb. 2 in Miami, there are two certainties. The game will reach the biggest live TV audience of the year by far, and it will set a streaming record — the question is by how much. Live sports have been a TV ratings bulwark in an increasingly on-demand universe. Fox Sports unloaded all 77 of its in-game ad units before Thanksgiving, with prices for a 30-second spot topping out at $5.6 million, compared with $5.3 million in 2019. It was an extremely early benchmark for the Super Bowl, which typically sees in-game inventory available through December and into January. "That's about as strong an endorsement of the Super Bowl as an ad-delivery platform as there could possibly be," says Mike Mulvihill, executive vp and head of strategy and analytics at Fox Sports. And Fox's live stream of the game could add millions more. The 2019 Super Bowl hit a record 7.5 million unique devices, per CBS Sports, the most ever for a Super Bowl and up 20 percent versus the previous year. Analysts estimate that streaming revenue adds another 4 to 5 percent to the total ad haul; 2019's game took in $336 million in in-game linear TV ad revenue (for a total of $412 million including pre- and postgame ad spots), according to Kantar Media. So CBS could have taken in as much as $16.8 million in digital revenue for its live stream of Super Bowl LIII. But while scripted television has been shedding live TV viewers, sports are not experiencing the same cannibalization effect of an on-demand content universe. NFL rights holders Fox, NBC and CBS pay the league $3 billion annually for rights to Sunday games and the Super Bowl. And, despite the rise of cord-cutting, the networks say that for now streaming is only additive, "drawing in out-of-home viewers and those watching on second screens," notes Neal Pilson, a former CBS Sports executive who now runs his own sports consultancy. Last year's game, while down double digits for the lowest live viewership total in a decade, still was watched by 98.2 million people, according to Nielsen. And industry observers attribute the decline to the quality of the Patriots-Rams matchup – it was the lowest-scoring Super Bowl ever – as well as possible "Patriots fatigue." Regular-season NFL ratings are up this year. Of the 100 most-watched telecasts of the fall, 93 are sports matchups. So the Super Bowl TV audience once again could pass 100 million. "Media content has become so individualized," adds Mulvihill. "The one thing that is still bringing people together is sports. This story first appeared in the Jan. 3 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.