Trish Regan. Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Fox Business announced Friday that the cable news network "parted ways" with anchor Trish Regan, after she called the novel coronavirus a "scam" on-air March 9.

The big picture: Conservative commentators, including syndicated radio personality Rush Limbaugh and Fox News' Sean Hannity, have come under fire for minimizing the threat of COVID-19. "For two crucial weeks in late February and early March, powerful Fox hosts talked about the “real” story of the coronavirus: It was a Democratic- and media-led plot against President Donald J. Trump," The New York Times writes.

  • Meanwhile, Lachlan Murdoch, CEO of Fox Corporation, was focused on the $440 million acquisition of streaming company Tubi. He failed to "to pry its most important voices away from their embrace of the president’s early line: that the virus was not a big threat in the United States," per the Times.

Now, the network's leadership is trying to reel its hosts in to mitigate the spread of misinformation.

"The decision by Fox Business to remove Ms. Regan’s show took some journalists and anchors at the network by surprise: Fox executives are accustomed to withstanding public pressure, and rarely make personnel moves that can be construed as validating criticisms of the network," the Times wrote.

Context: Regan's show "Trish Regan Primetime" aired during Fox Business' 8 p.m. hour through March 13. The network initially said the show was on hiatus because of "the demands of the evolving pandemic crisis coverage," The Wall Street Journal writes.

What they're saying:

  • Fox Business, per a statement: “FOX Business has parted ways with Trish Regan - we thank her for her contributions to the network over the years and wish her continued success in her future endeavors. We will continue our reduced live primetime schedule for the foreseeable future in an effort to allocate staff resources to continuous breaking news coverage on the Coronavirus crisis.”
  • Regan released a statement via the network saying, “I have enjoyed my time at FOX and now intend to focus on my family during these troubled times. I am grateful to my incredible team at FOX Business and for the many opportunities the network has provided me. I’m looking forward to this next chapter in my career.”

What to watch: Fox Business replaced Regan’s time slot with general-interest programming.

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Editor's note: This story has been corrected to characterize Rush Limbaugh as a syndicated radio personality; he is not a Fox News personality.

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