Fox News Channel is revamping its daytime lineup, moving hosts (and adding one) to different hours of the day, and changing its weekday 7 p.m. hour from news to opinion, to match progressive counterpart MSNBC.
A rotating group of Fox News opinion hosts will take over the 7 p.m. hour, which will now be titled Fox News Primetime. A permanent 7 p.m. opinion host will be named at a later date, but TVNewser can confirm that Brian Kilmeade will be the first Fox Newser to helm the hour (Outkick was first to report).
This change (and others outlined below) go into effect next Monday, Jan. 18.
“As we kick off a new year, we are excited to announce new changes to our schedule. We have the best-in-class anchors, interviewers, reporters and talent in all of news media,” said Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott in a statement. “This new powerful lineup ensures Fox News Media will continue to deliver outstanding coverage for our viewers who depend on the most trusted names in the business.”
Martha MacCallum is moving from 7 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET, but her show will continue to be named The Story With Martha MacCallum.
Fox News had been hinting at making changes to its 2021 programming lineup going back to before the 2020 election, as cable news viewers are increasingly looking for analysis/opinion in the evenings and news during the day. However, it should be noted that MacCallum’s 7 p.m. news program started having viewership issues after the election, sometimes finishing third behind its CNN and MSNBC competitors in key measurements. The news hour had also been losing some of its further-right-leaning audience in that hour to conservative upstart Newsmax.
If Fox News made the decision before the election to eventually replace news with opinion at 7 p.m., this trend may have expedited that change. Just a thought.
Despite the ratings drop off in recent months, The Story was still the No. 1 cable news show in the 7 p.m. hour for 2020.
The dayside lineup is being re-worked as well. Bill Hemmer, who replaced Shepard Smith as anchor of the network’s key 3 p.m. news hour last January, will go back to anchoring America’s Newsroom. He will anchor the 9-11 a.m. ET time period with Dana Perino, who had been anchoring Fox News’ 2 p.m. hour. The program will be named America’s Newsroom with Bill Hemmer & Dana Perino.
This will be Perino’s first time anchoring this mid-morning time period, whereas Hemmer had been a constant in the mid-mornings up until getting his own hour 12 months ago.
Harris Faulkner, who currently hosts two hours from noon to 2 p.m., will now anchor the 11 a.m. hour (now named The Faulkner Focus) as well as her noon panel program, Outnumbered.
What about 1 p.m. ET slot that Faulkner has held? Sandra Smith, who had been anchoring the mid-morning America’s Newsroom, will now co-anchor two hours of afternoon news programming with John Roberts. America Reports with John Roberts & Sandra Smith will air from 1-3 p.m. ET.
Most recently Fox News chief White House correspondent, Roberts hasn’t anchored news programming on a regular basis since his CNN days, as co-host of American Morning. He also anchored the CBS Evening News on weekends for years during his stint at that network. Roberts’ replacement on the White House correspondent team will be announced at a later date.
Neil Cavuto will continue to lead the 4 p.m. hour, and the early-evening/prime time dayparts will remain as is—outside of 7 p.m., of course.
Variety’s Brian Steinberg was first to report this news.