Blog Briefing Room

Despite MS, cancer, heart surgery, Neil Cavuto keeps coming back for more

Getty Images

Neil Cavuto is a premiere example of a guy simultaneously blessed and cursed with good and bad luck. 

{mosads}First, the bad. The 57-year-old Fox News and Fox Business veteran has somehow been diagnosed with several serious conditions in his adult life.

First, stage 4 cancer in the form of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. As the fictional Johnny Sack once famously said on “The Sopranos,” “There is no stage 5.”

But Cavuto somehow beat it. And when someone survives that kind of scare, it usually fills the quota when it comes to big-time illnesses for life. 

Except that later that year, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a disease for which there is no cure, just treatment. The odds of getting both cancer and MS in one lifetime is monumental. 

So that should be it, right? How many times can one person get hit by lightning? 

Apparently, three times. 

Earlier this year in May, during what Cavuto described as a standard checkup, one doctor after another another entered his room to examine his chart after a routine stress test on his heart. 

“One white coat walked in after another, like something out of a Woody Allen movie,” Cavuto recalls.

He would undergo triple bypass surgery just a few weeks later. 

The timing for Cavuto, who has been in the broadcast business well over three decades, couldn’t be worse given that an already-insane election season was about to be nuttier thanks to the major party conventions happening in back-to-back weeks in July. 

The husband and father of three would normally be Fox Business’ lead anchor during such a big event. Instead, he wound up watching from bed, recovering for what ended up being longer than two months. 

“My wife was commenting on why I was throwing things at the TV set. That was her first clue that I was getting better,” he says. “It drove me nuts to be missing it and not part of the action. 

“There I was, just taking it all in, all these news developments, so it was tough. Very tough.” 

He now hosts three programs on two networks: “Your World” on weekday afternoons on Fox News, “Cavuto Coast to Coast” weekdays on Fox Business from noon-2 p.m. ET,  and “The Cost of Freedom” Saturday mornings on Fox News. 

Some observers may say that isn’t the kind of schedule a 50-something stage-4 cancer survivor with MS who is coming off a triple bypass should endure. But the peace of mind that comes from work may be Cavuto’s best medicine. 

“They didn’t want me back so fast. In fact, my doctors recommended I needed a little more time to rest up, because it takes time with the breathlessness, and you’re not going to be as fast, and you have to the complication of MS, yada, yada,” he explains.

“But I kept saying, ‘I don’t know what more I can do, sitting at home annoying my wife.’ “

Cavuto says pace and self-awareness is the next step in the process. 

“We have know what we’re capable of, so I do move around a little bit slower,” he continues. “I just pace myself, and that was my surgeon’s biggest worry that I would dive in at this reckless speed. I’m just taking it one show, one event at a time.” 

The RNC and DNC conventions and the news and spectacle they create are relatively predictable as being huge news events. But something patently unpredictable — the media story of the year — was coming down the pike with Cavuto on the sidelines as well: A sexual harassment suit against the man who originally hired him at CNBC in the early ‘90s, Roger Ailes. 

The story is now well known from here: On July 5, Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson leveled a sexual harassment suit against Ailes, rocking the media establishment in the process. The 76-year-old network chairman and CEO denied the claims, calling them false and “retaliatory” for not renewing the relatively low-rated Carlson’s contract. 

Many Fox News hosts — whose loyalty to Ailes has always been apparent throughout the years  — publicly rushed to his defense, including Cavuto. But shortly after an internal investigation was launched, Ailes resigned, just 15 days after the Carlson suit was filed. 

“I couldn’t fathom it, because it was sort of all unraveling shortly after I got home from the hospital. It almost caused palpitations all over again,” Cavuto says. “I knew I would eventually be returning to work. I just didn’t know what I’d be returning to.

“First thing I did when I got back was to speak to my various show staff to make sure they were all OK,” he recalls. “That was my focus and my hope: We can keep what he created, what we all did, and keep it going.”

As for his defense of Ailes, Cavuto said it came from a personal place, not a corporate one. 

“I wasn’t speaking as an executive or someone who was pro-harassment or any of this nonsense,” Cavuto says. “I was speaking as someone who didn’t see it, didn’t know it, and after almost a quarter of a century [of working for Ailes at CNBC and Fox News], didn’t even see hints of it.”

“My defense of Roger was as a friend, and looking at what I was seeing, and what I had never seen in the past.”

In the post-Ailes Fox News and Fox Business world, nothing has changed from a ratings perspective. The networks enjoyed two of their best months in history in the first full month without the brains behind the organization. The formula and foundation,Ailes built, it appears, is already baked into the building. 

As for Cavuto’s first week back on the job, it appears he was missed by his audiences. His “Cavuto: Coast to Coast” FBN show, for example, enjoyed the highest-rated week in its history. 

Overall, Fox Business is enjoying its biggest year ever, even beating rival CNBC across several programs — an objective once seen by media observers as almost unattainable. 

“Our job is to see this intersection between Main Street and Wall Street. I never wanted to do things through the prism of just any one them,” explains Cavuto. “Or how the Dow is doing. Or how Wall Street is doing. And that bigger playing field allows more people to come in.”

“I think I led the rap against business news — and it’s a fair rap — is that we love to be boring,” Cavuto says. “Or that we love to force vegetables down your throat and not make it appealing. I think you can do this in a way where it is.” 

Cavuto is back, working the most unique, entertaining, sometimes unsettling presidential election season we’ll likely ever see. 

He lives with MS, survived Stage 4 cancer and endured triple-bypass surgery.

“I’m trying to heavily work the pity party here,” Cavuto muses. “My doctor even said after hearing about my past, ‘Man oh man, you should be playing the lottery. And I am, just haven’t won yet.”

On the contrary, it already looks like he has.


The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video