From the stock market to the latest political scandal which affects your finances, Stuart Varney knows his business, which is why his live show, Varney & Co., on FOX Business Network routinely ranks as the number one business news program in America.
This British boy has certainly come a long way from first crossing the pond to conquering the country’s biggest business news headlines. Before landing in the land of milk and honey in 1973, Stuart had received a degree from the London School of
Economics and was traveling around the world. While in Hong Kong, the future face of FOX Business got a job working for Radio Hong Kong as a news reporter on the streets before starting over in San Francisco.
“The first moment that I arrived in America, I landed at JFK and was immediately taken to Westport, Connecticut. I got up the next morning and walked around and thought my goodness me, the streets are paved with gold. It was a very wealthy place and instantly I could see opportunity and money and it was something that I could aspire to.”
After inquiring about an ad he had read in the local paper calling for an entry level newscaster position, Stuart found himself on the air at a small business station which had been purchased by two entrepreneurs. When someone named Ted Turner came calling about a new concept on a new channel, Stuart jumped at the chance. With a vast knowledge of both business and television, Varney became the very first person to broadcast on CNN in the old World Trade Center studios on June 2nd, 1980. Turner had indeed turned Stuart into a national news star.
“I was a newcomer to America, a young guy in my late 20’s, early 30’s, and suddenly there’s a brand new thing, this 24/7 news network that airs coast to coast. Nobody had done anything like that before, and I was in on the ground floor. I learned an enormous amount and because it was so new and so unique, I got to interview all kinds of people that would have been really out of reach. It started doing very well and I stayed at CNN for almost 20 years.”
This personable television personality always puts his own perspective on things, which is what has led to some pretty impressive ratings. Stuart is definitely both entertaining and educational – especially with his English accent!
With the addition of Stuart, Fox Business Network, which launched in October 2007 and is celebrating its 12th anniversary this month, is the leading business network on television, having topped CNBC in Business Day for the second consecutive year in 2018. In fact, Varney & Co. just marked three consecutive years of dominating the competition in terms of total viewership. “Why we’ve lasted such a long time is that we are different from other business shows and other business networks. I go out of my way to be different. Fox Business is relatively new in the great scheme of things. They’ve really let me do my own thing. I’m a happy guy – they’ll have to carry me out! I never thought I’d be here but glad I am. It’s a challenge but a good challenge. You watch my show and it’s not a forecasting or Wall Street show, it’s a money and politics show. I want to grab the attention of the audience and know that they’re enjoying themselves.”
This ambitious anchor has indeed achieved the American dream in his adopted country which he credits to the generosity and accepting nature of the American people. “Here I am, a guy with an obvious foreign voice telling Americans what’s going on in their society, and they accepted it. America is and was and always will be, I think, the land of extraordinary opportunity. Nobody ever cared what my dad did for a living, what school I went to or who I was. If you have drive and ability you can move up the food chain here and I’m entranced by this. If you had told me years and years ago that I would do well in the television news business, I would have laughed. When you’re working on the ground floor of any operation, you don’t see yourself 20 or 30 years in the future doing well, you just struggle to get through the day to make an impact and make a career. I was very fortunate to stay with CNN for so long, I saw the development of something completely new in the news business.”
In order to meet the demands of singularly anchoring a 3-hour live show, Stuart has made Hoboken his home as it is just a short commute to his studio. By 4am, Stuart is already busy writing opinion pieces and preparing to bring the biggest business news stories to his adoring audience. “If you have your name on your show it’s you that has to be there, so that means I have to make all kinds of accommodations in my personal life to meet my professional life. I just stayed in the game, I enjoyed some success and I want to stay in it.”
While he loves taking visitors on a walking tour around Manhattan, a city he has come to love for its vitality and of course, restaurants, Stuart has also come to appreciate the aliveness and homey feel of Hoboken. “It’s such a young community, all you see are young couples with babies and dogs. I like to be surrounded by youth and enthusiasm. I don’t go out at night since I have to be up so early, but Hoboken is really a fascinating place.”
He might be a busy Fox star, but Stuart always finds time for family. With six children and nine grandchildren, he’s just as busy keeping up with the Varney clan as he is reporting on the virulent stock market. While Stuart’s children and their families live everywhere from New England to New Zealand, this doting dad dedicates just as much time to staying in touch with everyone, even if it’s through the internet, as he does preparing for his show. His children have also branched out into differing industries, from winemaking to the hotel business, but his youngest daughter is following in her father’s footsteps and is now a part of the Fox family where she works at Fox Nation.
Aside from working hard on his show, Stuart also has a large working tree farm in Upstate New York, one of his four residences, where he grows hard wood timber and hard maple that goes into high-end furniture. The farm, located two hours outside of New Jersey, is where the 71-year old anchor, who has no plans to retire anytime soon, relaxes and regroups away from his beloved but non-stop business show. Stuart’s own personal retreat reminds him of the rolling green pastures of the English countryside.
“Having any kind of acreage in England costs an arm and a leg. In America, it’s much cheaper. I found the property purely by accident. It’s really possible to have a very attractive lifestyle here in this great country. When I found the place it was a wreck, so I got it in a distress sale. It used to be a beef farm with cattle but hadn’t been a real farm for 20 years. It took me years to visit all the parts of the property and to build tracks and roads to make it accessible. I never considered having a tree farm but it’s a money maker and you can really enjoy nature out here.” Though there are three houses on the property, making it a favorite spot for family reunions, Stuart also owns homes in Naples, Florida, and Cape Cod, in order to be closer to two of his children and their families.
When it comes to his most memorable on-air moments, Stuart mostly enjoys straight talkers who speak their mind, including President Donald Trump and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. “President Trump is the best interview that I’ve ever done, not because I got anything special from him, but because he answers any and all questions directly, and that is so refreshing. You may or may not like his politics, his tone or his style, but you get honest answers. With most politicians, you get a deflection, or you don’t know what they really think or what they want to say. They’re usually super guarded, but he breaks the mold all the time. You can ask him anything and you might get a harsh answer, but you’ll definitely get a straight answer. You might not like him, but don’t tell me it’s not exciting stuff. I liked sharp-edged politicians.’
With the election looming, the savvy and sharp-witted Stuart wants to make sure that America doesn’t become a socialist country. “The election will make a big difference to the economy and have a significant impact on investors. Whether Trump wins or loses, it will have big consequences. I just report on what the market is doing and how America is doing. I support a vigorous, capitalist America, and that’s what we’ve got, at least for now.”
This number one business newsman and family man is always finding fresh ways to reach his Fox Business fans. He is still savoring his long-standing success and isn’t slowing down any time soon!
Shot on location at: The Royale, 188 East 64th Street PH4, courtesy of Douglas Elliman
Photography Assistant: Diaja Henry