If you have ever wondered about the culinary skills of a “Fox & Friends” co-host, wonder no longer. On the new show “Cooking With Steve Doocy,” the pink-faced Fox News anchor makes chili with Dr. Oz, shares a kitchen with Kellyanne Conway and whips up stromboli with Anthony Scaramucci and his wife.
“Steve poured the wine!” Mr. Scaramucci wrote in an email. “It was an awesome time.”
Fox News viewers are fiercely loyal to their network. But will they pay to watch a “Fox & Friend” work a griddle?
That, in a gourmet nutshell, is the question for Fox Nation, the subscription-only streaming service — think Netflix for conservatives — that debuts on Tuesday and ushers the cable news business into a brave, uncertain new era.
For $ 5.99 a month, viewers can purchase on-demand access to live political commentary and hundreds of hours of original programming from familiar Fox News faces. Another “Fox & Friend,” Brian Kilmeade, has a history show called “What Made America Great.” Maria Bartiromo interviews Eric Trump for “The First Family.” “Borked” covers the 1987 Supreme Court non-confirmation of Robert H. Bork.
True-crime enthusiasts can opt for “The Fuhrman Diaries,” in which famous cases are examined by Mark Fuhrman, the former Los Angeles police detective who was revealed as a racist during the O. J. Simpson trial.
Fox Nation may be the id of Fox News, but it is also a potentially shrewd bet for the Murdoch family, which is testing the digital waters ahead of news rivals CNN and MSNBC.
Networks like ESPN, CBS, and HBO have introduced stand-alone streaming apps as audiences move away from traditional TV. Lachlan Murdoch, who will oversee a reconstituted Fox empire after the company sells most of its entertainment assets to the Walt Disney Company, is ready to modernize. And Fox News, with juggernaut ratings and ad revenue, commands a devoted audience.
“We have fans,” said John Finley, the executive overseeing Fox Nation. “Other news organizations simply have viewers.”
Still, every bet needs a hedge. Unlike HBO Now and CBS All Access, Fox Nation does not include any shows from the network’s regular broadcast, and its news-side anchors, like Chris Wallace and Shepard Smith, are not participating. In an effort to make sure it does not sap the ratings of the prime-time shows, Fox Nation will end its live programming around 7 p.m., in time for viewers to switch to cable for Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham.
For now, Fox News is not divulging the number of subscribers who have signed on for Fox Nation, saying only that it was pleased by the initial response. About 70 percent of sign-ups came from a mobile device, Mr. Finley said, calling it a promising sign for the product’s appeal to technologically adept consumers.
About that: The median age of a Fox News viewer is 65, hardly the target audience for a streaming app. Even Mr. Kilmeade, in an interview last week, conceded that cable TV was becoming passé with a new generation.
“It’s scary, right?” Mr. Kilmeade said, recalling that his college-age son was the only student in his dormitory with a cable subscription. “He’s like, ‘Dad, nobody’s watching cable anymore.’”
Fox News, whose website has enormous traffic, is keen to point out that the median age of its TV viewers is a year younger than MSNBC’s. The network also beats CNN and MSNBC in the coveted advertising demographic of 25- to 54-year-olds, although cable news viewership skews older over all.
Rich Greenfield, a media analyst at BTIG Research, said Fox News should not be concerned about its older audience. “My mom’s over 70, and she has a Roku,” he said in an interview. “These devices are becoming so easy.” But he faulted the network for wading, not diving, into the streaming sphere.
“They don’t want to take Fox News and offer it directly to consumers; they want to see if they can skim off the top some incremental dollars from cord-cutters,” Mr. Greenfield said. “If these companies had guts, it wouldn’t be ESPN Plus, it would be ESPN. It wouldn’t be Fox Nation, it’d be Fox News.”
For now, Fox Nation is being pitched as complementary content for Fox News “superfans,” as the network likes to call them. “They’re all in; they feel like they know you,” Mr. Kilmeade said. Billboards in major cities have also advertised the service to conservatives with the slogan “Feeling Left Out?”
Diamond and Silk, the African-American sisters and Trump cheerleaders, will appear weekly as commentators. Editorial page writers for The Wall Street Journal — another Murdoch property — will appear on live segments dissecting the day’s news. Tomi Lahren, a rising star in right-wing media, will deliver two daily segments, “First Thoughts” and “Final Thoughts.” David Webb, a radio host, hosts “Reality Check.” Jesse Watters is planning a behind-the-scenes supplement for the panel discussion show “The Five,” and the archives of his man-on-the-street interviews, which originally aired on “The O’Reilly Factor,” will be available.
“They’re going to have a warehouse of all the old ‘Watters’ World’ segments,” Mr. Watters said in an interview, pausing a moment before adding: “Almost all of them.” A notorious segment set in New York’s Chinatown, which was widely denounced as racist toward Asians, has been omitted.
Mr. Watters, among the network’s more youthful anchors, said he had a cable subscription at home but had trouble turning it on. “I get frustrated, and I’ll just watch Netflix instead,” he said. “I’m watching ‘Making a Murderer.’ I’m three episodes in, and I’m obsessed.”
As for Mr. Fuhrman, he has been a regular Fox News analyst for years. Mr. Finley, the Fox executive, said he was not worried about granting the former detective a starring role.
“The Fox audience is long familiar with Mark and things that have been said about him in the past,” he said. “It was not a matter of concern.”
Mr. Kilmeade, of “Fox & Friends,” said that “What Made America Great” was not a political show. But there is a Trump-y tinge to the proceedings: He tours the Hermitage, the former plantation of President Trump’s favorite predecessor, Andrew Jackson; and climbs Mount Rushmore with Ryan Zinke, the president’s interior secretary.
Then there’s that title. Doesn’t it ring a bell?
“I never thought of it,” Mr. Kilmeade said when asked about the resemblance to Mr. Trump’s slogan.
“We just want people to have a great feeling about our country, and why people from other countries want to be here, and why they want to visit here,” he said. “I don’t think there was any Trump thing to it.”