America’s dilemma: Watch Megyn and record Piers or watch Piers and record Megyn?
Fox News announced a move to primetime last month. It is not immediately clear where Sean Hannity, who currently hosts the 9 p.m. hour, will move. Hannity, along with Bill O’Reilly, Greta Van Susteren, Bret Baier and Shepard Smith, recently signed long-term contracts with Fox News Channel…
Kelly’s addition to primetime will be the first significant change to the network’s primetime programming in 11 years, when Greta Van Susteren took over the 10pm slot from Paula Zahn in January, 2002. In 2008, Alan Colmes departed “Hannity and Colmes” leaving the 9pm slot to Hannity.
Hannity’s been at 9 p.m. for, what, 17 years? Now that I read it again, Drudge’s post doesn’t say explicitly that he’s leaving the time slot — but it sure does imply it, and it’d be odd, frankly, to pair a more-or-less straight news reporter like Kelly with a strongly partisan commentator like him. Presumably he’s moving to 10 p.m. to do battle with Scary Larry O’Donnell. Where does that leave Greta? Well, last month, after people started whispering that she’d been chatting with CNN, she wrote a blog post stressing that she’s not going anywhere and that Fox had contractually guaranteed her a show in primetime. Primetime includes 7 p.m. (sort of, I think), and her husband told the NYT back in May that she’d be open to a show at an earlier hour. So that’s where Greta likely ends up, which means one less hour of Shep Smith per day unless there are still further changes to come that we don’t know about. Hard to believe they’d move “The Five” given how well it’s doing ratings-wise, and “Special Report” is their most respected pure news program. Maybe, with Kelly’s daytime show being eliminated, they’ll give Shep a block from 2-4 p.m. and figure out something new to do with the 1-2 p.m. hour? Gretchen Carlson’s leaving “Fox & Friends” to host her own show in the afternoon. I guess that’s where she’ll go.
More interesting than the game of musical chairs is seeing a partisan network hand the most fiercely partisan time slot on cable news to a star who’s not known for being stridently partisan. MSNBC added Maddow five years ago to counter Hannity from the left, and then CNN added PIers Morgan two years ago to counter both of them with … I don’t know what, exactly, but a guy who’ll also come down reliably on the left when he’s not busy interviewing Snoop Dogg. (Correction: “Snoop Lion.”) Now Fox is going the other way with Kelly. It’s a testament to her charm that they’re willing to bet that big on her given the success they’ve had with Hannity there for so many years. You need a lot of personality to hold down a more down-the-middle 9 p.m. show in an age when viewers expect “guess what the nuts on the other side did today” news at that hour. Good luck to her. Exit question: Why not keep Hannity there and move Kelly to 10 p.m. instead? Were they worried about maybe losing women viewers at 9 p.m. to Maddow?
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) August 8, 2013