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It has been a memorable year for Fox News. The network set ratings records, but it also experienced more than its fair share of controversy.
One bright spot for the network has been the rise of Ainsley Earhardt. A decade-long veteran of FNC, Earhardt had a breakout year, both personally and professionally.
After years of working overnights, weekend shifts, and co-hosting Fox and Friends First, Earhardt was promoted to the network’s signature morning show Fox and Friends back in February.
Establishing herself as a morning show host had been a goal of Earhardt’s ever since she visited Today in college and got to meet Matt Lauer.
“It didn’t happen overnight, but everything I have worked toward for the last two decades came to fruition this past year!” Earhardt told TVNewser. “I also want to thank Fox News viewers.”
Described by co-host Steve Doocy as “one of the nicest people I have ever met,” Earhardt has been a catalyst behind the program’s rise this year. Fox and Friends delivered a +31 percent year-over-year lift in total audience since her arrival, per Nielsen data.
Earhardt also played a significant role in the program’s election coverage this year. She left the Fox and Friends curvy couch on multiple occasions, interviewing President-elect Trump and VP-elect Pence during their first “thank you tour” stop in Ohio, sat down for an interview with Melania Trump, and managed to sit down with Clinton campaign team members Kristina Schake and John Podesta.
It was a memorable year for Earhardt personally as well. She celebrated her daughter Hayden’s first birthday in 2016, and her book Take Heart, My Child debuted at No. 1 on NYT’s Children’s Picture Books list last month. It will close out the year in the No. 1 spot.