Buoyed by the success of Fox News’ The Five, cable news’ most-watched show, Newsmax is launching its own panel show; the big difference is that this one will be in primetime.
Led by conservative syndicated radio talk-show host Chris Plante, Chris Plante The Right Squad launches on Monday, May 8, and will air during the all-important 9 p.m. ET hour. Plante will be joined on the panel show by Jenn Pellegrino, a Newsmax veteran, and three other regular panelists, who, at this time, have not been named.
According to Newsmax, Chris Plante The Right Squad, produced out of Washington, D.C., “will feature strong analysis with dynamic conversation and debates about the major events impacting America, adding that no topic will be off-limits.”
“Chris Plante is an award-winning journalist who delivers fact-based news and opinion while keeping the conversation fun and interesting,” Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy said in a statement. “We are proud he is joining the Newsmax team after years of success at CNN and Cumulus/WestwoodOne.”
Plante, the stepson of the former CBS News White House correspondent, the late Bill Plante, joins Newsmax with over 20 years of media experience. He is currently the host of The Chris Plante Show, heard on Washington, D.C.’s WMAL and syndicated nationally by Westwood One.
Previously Plante spent 17 years at CNN covering Pentagon and national security issues.
“I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the outstanding team at Newsmax and getting to work on a great show dedicated to carving through the fluff to get at the unfiltered truth,” Plante said, adding, “And whoever it was that said you can’t get the occasional laugh out of today’s crazy news obviously did not know me.”
Newsmax, considered a competitor to Fox News due to its conservative-leaning programming, has, within the last few weeks, seen its viewership rise because of Fox News’ decision in late-April to part ways with Tucker Carlson.
The network’s viewership footprint is still small compared to the big three, and nowhere near Fox News. However, in recent days, according to the New York Times, the audience at the network has risen to the point where it’s doubled or even sometimes tripled what it usually averages as a result of the viewer discontent with Fox News.
Newsmax has worked to strengthen its evening programming schedule that now features Greta Van Susteren’s The Record, followed by Rob Schmitt Tonight and Eric Bolling The Balance. Bolling, whose Newsmax show airs at 8 p.m., has benefited the most from Carlson’s recent exit.
Newsmax isn’t the only news network launching a panel-type show these days. NewsNation launched The Hill, which airs at 5 p.m. ET, in April. Hosted by Leland Vittert, the show features a high-profile guest and four panelists, including NewsNation’s political editor Chris Stirewalt, senior political contributor George Will, former Obama official Johanna Maska, and associate editor of TheHill.com, Niall Stanage.